Loma Linda University responds to the crisis in Haiti: Adventist Health International hospital one of few in country “fully operational”
“There is a small Adventist hospital and an Adventist university in the western suburb of Port-au-Prince,” says Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, president of LLU. “All of the hospital buildings and most of those at the university are intact. No LLU students or staff were at either of those places at the time of the earthquake.”
Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti (HAH), a 70-bed facility built in 1978, is serving as a clinical center for the nation. In 2003, the hospital joined Adventist Health International, an international organization based at LLU.
Scott Nelson, MD, an LLU-trained orthopaedic surgeon based in the Dominican Republic, arrived in Port-au-Prince on January 14 with a surgical team to provide surgical services at the hospital.
As Dr. Nelson began making his way to the hospital, he stopped at several parking lots full of injured and offered assistance. Dr. Nelson arrived at the hospital on Friday, January 15, and confirmed that the hospital is one of the few in Haiti that is structurally sound.
“Dr. Nelson is prepared to stay in Haiti for several months,” Dr. Hart shares. “We are committed to backing him up with resources, including diesel fuel to keep emergency power generators working.”
A report from www.alertnet.org, an online service of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, stated that the Adventist hospital is “the only functional hospital” in Port-au-Prince, and added that, “colleagues from Haiti are reporting that the hospital is completely full and that there is not enough medication.”
Loma Linda University is currently working with two humanitarian organizational entities—SIGN-Post in Washington, and CURE International in Pennsylvania to help assist HAH.
“LLU’s response has been in three areas—fundraising, deployment of human resources, and acquisition of select equipment and supplies,” says Jerry Daly, MSLS, assistant vice president for global outreach.
Both SIGN-Post and CURE have secured the means to transport equipment and personnel into the region on relief aircraft. CURE has identified the Adventist Hospital as one of three sites where they are working and as a result, some of the stream of now flowing supplies and medicines into Haiti can go to support HAH.
On Thursday, January 14, a website at LLU was created to accept donations for Hopital Adventiste d’Haiti. Currently, more than $45,000 has been raised for this cause.
Andrew Haglund, MS, assistant professor of geoinformatics, spoke with several local church groups and is assisting in gathering additional funding for the hospital.
Mr. Haglund, along with Mike Fishell, MD, and Chris Vannucci, a physician assistant, left for Haiti on Tuesday, January 19. Once on the ground, this group will help determine what is needed for a shipment to arrive later in the week.
On Thursday, January 21, Chris Jobe, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at LLU, his wife, Melanie, and DuWayne Carlson, MD, an orthopedic surgeon from Lincoln, will be traveling to Haiti, bringing additional supplies. Melanie speaks French fluently and will serve as a translator.
LLU’s response to the crisis in Haiti has not been alone. Whittemore Enterprises in Ontario, generously opened their offices on Saturday and put together three battery-driven Stryker reciprocal surgical saws, two amputation sets of instruments, and numerous hand saws plus some other necessary orthopedic instruments. These instruments were sterilized at Loma Linda University Medical Center and are being hand-carried to HAH.
In addition, a much-needed sterilizer has been crated and delivered to MedShare in San Leandro. This equipment, along with packed gloves, gauze, and other useable supplies, will be flown to Haiti by CURE and delivered to the hospital.
Many individuals, both alumni, faculty, and staff of Loma Linda University and its entities have inquired as to what skills are needed and how best to help. In addition, individuals from the community and from across the United States have contacted LLU. The Global Health Institute at LLU is collecting these names and organizing what skills would be best suited to assist at the hospital. Once the first team from LLU arrives in Haiti on January 19, and reports back, there will be a clear understanding of the specific needs at HAH and how LLU might help.
Individuals who would like to donate to the relief effort of HAH invited to visit the website at www.llu.edu or to contact the LLU office of philanthropy at PO Box 2000, Loma Linda, CA 92354. The phone number is (909) 558-5010. Please make checks payable to: Loma Linda University—Haiti Earthquake.