Local doctor helping out ailing Haitian patients

Cholera is an infection of the small intestine caused by consuming contaminated drinking water or food.

As the death toll climbs to more than 1,400 from the cholera outbreak, doctors and nurses are desperately needed over the holidays to help patients dealing with the disease in a country devastated by an earthquake and hurricane this year.

"I figure it's going to be kind of like a war zone, but I can handle it for 11 days, you can pretty much do anything," Dr. Robert Clinton said. "But I feel like we need a lot more people to go."

Dr. Clinton flew out of RDU Wednesday morning for Haiti. He's spending his Thanksgiving volunteering with Samaritan's Purse. The organization provides spiritual and physical aid to those around the world in need.

The Christian based relief organization is run by Billy Graham's eldest son, Franklin. It has set up a 200 bed clinic in Haiti.

"There's also a lot of diphtheria, and malaria typhoid, and they said just be prepared for all those tropical diseases we read about, but we never see here," Clinton said.

He is one of five doctors and 30 nurses from around the country who will run the clinic over Thanksgiving.

"They said there's going to be a lot of patients," Clinton said. "They said be expecting for people to die and 200 beds that's for the sicker patients, but we'll have thousands there that are getting oral rehydration."

While Clinton says he is prepared to see the worst, he's focusing on the Haitian patients he can help and for that he is thankful.

"I had two weeks available and I feel like God can use me in a way I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise," he said.

The need for medical professionals to volunteer in Haiti is still tremendous and Samaritan's Purse is one of the organizations helping to send them.

For more information visit their web site at www.samaritanspurse.org

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