We ARE making a difference.
In 2010 we arrived in the DR two weeks following the massive earthquake in neighboring Haiti. Having spent countless months planning our surgical mission, we elected to proceed, with the understanding that we may called on to help along the DR/Haiti border. I recall vividly the difference in temperament around the mission from the year before – the concern for those suffering great loss due to the earthquake was felt in the overall mood of the people. We set to work, however, performING surgical procedures as planned, all the while inquiring if there was anything that could be done by our team to help in Haiti. Midway through our week at ILAC, a helicopter landed behind the mission, commandeered by two American men helping transport medical supplies to a hospital on the DR/Haiti border. Dr. Gladys Tse and I helped the men, Jim Jalovec, and John Ward, load the helicopter with medications and supplies – items the hospital was in desperate need of. As the men departed in late afternoon, they told us they would return to bring nurses to the area, as there was a shortage at the hospital. That evening, both men perished when their helicopter hit a mountain in a dense fog. We were all shocked and saddened, as these were just good guys trying to help others in need. The event put a great strain on the local staff at ILAC, but we managed to get through a successful week of surgeries, completing 69 major surgical procedures as well as 39 local procedures during our week at the mission. This has been the most memorable week for me personally, as so much tragedy, pain and suffering surrounded us.
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