Love, Effort Amid Chaos in Haiti: Doctor - NBC4 Washington

Love, Effort Amid Chaos in Haiti: Doctor

Hopkins docs call Haiti trip heartbreaking, uplifting



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    A team of doctors from John's Hopkins Children's Center took a trip to Haiti that proved to be both heartbreaking and uplifting.

    When the earthquake hit, the group of pediatric residents was already in Miami preparing to go to Haiti for a two-week program on tropical medicine. Instead, they spent four days working almost around the clock trying to save dozens of young lives.

    "It was terrifying when you first walked up," said Dr. Delphine Robotham. "You saw the tents. You saw this fold up table outside that was the operating room. You saw hundreds of people, and the first thought that goes through your mind is, 'Wow, what can I do for these people? How can I help?'"

    She faced her breaking point when a 12-year-old boy she was caring for finally was slated for a life-saving flight to Miami but wound up back in the makeshift clinic at the Port-au-Prince airport just three hours later.

    Doctors Return From Haiti After Mission Turned Upside Down

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    (Published Friday, Jan. 22, 2010)

    "It was heart-wrenching 'cause I thought that this is it, he’s going to die in front of me," Robotham said. "I went outside. I couldn't hold it anymore. I just ran outside and sobbed."

    But a pilot noticed and promised he'd fly the boy to a hospital.

    But amid the heartache, there were heartening moments, too. Orphans who might have struggled alone were tended to by parents of other children.

    "Other families would just come up and kind of take their turn feeding this little baby, and it was really amazing to see," said Dr. Jennifer Webb. "In the midst of all this chaos there was still so much love and effort and kind of everybody working toward a goal."

    Leaving Haiti may have been the hardest part for this team.

    "Honestly, I think saying goodbye was probably one of the hardest parts of the entire trip," Robotham said.

    But just because they're back in the are doesn't mean they're done helping Haiti. The group is organizing a drive to collect crutches.

    "There were boxes and boxes of medical supplies, but I never once saw a pair of crutches," Dr. Rayna Hamdy said. "There aren't any crutches there."

    Crutches can be dropped off at the David M. Rubenstein Child Health Building at 200 N. Wolfe St. Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Do not drop off donations at the hospital emergency room, as that is disruptive to activities at the hospital.

    Click here to help Hopkins help Haiti.