Duke doctors head to Haiti

DURHAM Images of Haiti and its people more than a thousand miles away aren't far from Duke doctors hearts as they prepare to answer a medical call of duty.

"We saw lots of dislocated hips, pelvic fractures," Duke HomeCare & Hospice Advanced Practice Nurse April Perry said.

Perry just returned from Haiti. She briefed doctors Wednesday on what they would encounter when they head to the country.

"The enormity of human suffering that I saw is really hard for me to describe," Perry said. "I've done other disaster relief work, but I have never really seen anything quite like this."

Perry says hundreds of Haitians are suffering from head injuries and broken bones, many of them children who've had limbs amputated and some with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are going untreated.

"Some of what's happened in Haiti is beyond what those of us that practice," Haiti Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ian Greenwald said. "Here in North America would be used to seeing."

Duke's medical response team is made up of a limb loss physician, an orthopedist, anesthesiologist and 11 other specialists and nurses.

They'll help treat patients at the Health in Partners Hospital in Cange, two hours outside Port-Au-Prince, a facility run by Duke Alum and board of trustee Dr. Paul Farmer.

"One of the big challenges we'll face is to say, what kind of infrastructure still exist there, how much can we support there, particularly when a lot of the staff there have got really challenging issues for themselves," Duke Infectious Diseases Dr. Cameron Wolfe said.

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