Injured Haitians get treatment in North Carolina

Haitian earthquake victims come to North Carolina for treatment (Jim Schumacher photo)
January 26, 2010 11:30:14 AM PST
Ambulances from UNC Hospitals and Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital met a planeload of injured Haitian earthquake survivors at RDU Tuesday morning.

The three men and one woman need urgent medical care at the Wake Forest burn center and the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospital. A fifth Haitian is a minor who is with an injured parent.

They are part of a group that was flown to Florida from Haiti over the weekend. A group of 33 evacuees arrived in Broward County Florida on Saturday accompanied by former North Carolina U.S. presidential candidate John Edwards.

Officials with the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management said the local hospitals took the patients because there were not enough available facilities in Florida. It's not clear if more patients may come. Officials said there are 20 burn centers in the Southeast, and all are helping out.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, UNC Hospital and the Burn Center staff says it's emotional but they're "pulling out all the stops" for the three patients they're treating.

All have severe burns that may eventually require surgery. But first, their wounds and bacteria cleanup is the priority. Without this care, they may have been left with debilitating injuries or severe bacterial infections that could've claimed their lives.

Doctors say their prognosis is good.

One patient was carried by his wife for 10 miles to get him medical help. He was pumping gas at a gas station when it exploded. Another patient was working in a factory at the time of the quake and was burned by falling debris. The third patient has grease burns.

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