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Haitian Earthquake Survivors Receive Medical Treatment in Miami

  • Roxana Romera

The aid group Doctors Without Borders says many earthquake survivors in Haiti with untreated wounds are dying from infections. But thanks to a medical team from the University of Miami in Florida, a number of patients are receiving special treatment in the United States.

Antoine Joseph got a very special visit from a group of classically-trained, middle-school students. The 50-year-old patient, who suffered injuries to both legs and an arm when a building collapsed on him during the deadly earthquake in Haiti, is a violinist himself.

"Having three surgeries last night - one in my hand and one in each foot - it's nice to be here. It's nice to hear live music. Besides, I played a lot of this music… so it's kind of makes me feel like I'm alive," said Joseph.

Joseph is just one of a number of survivors who have been flown to Miami, accompanied by University of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital's medical trauma team for emergency treatment. This cutting-edge hospital will soon export cutting-edge technology to help its medical colleagues perform life-and- death surgeries, in Haiti.

New technology like this mobile unit designed to help doctors communicate live with other medical professionals, in the hardest-hit parts of Haiti's capital.

"Part of our work for the military is to develop a hand-held device which is really a connecter to the physician or the nurse," explained Dr. Jeffrey Augenstein. "It provides education, it provides telemedicine, so you can point it to the patient and send the message out. It provides documentation. All of those things."

Dr. Jeffrey Augenstein is a trauma surgeon who works closely with the team of University of Miami doctors dispatched to Haiti. He has treated some of the 66 patients who've been transferred here for urgent care.

"There's an influx every day, and in my opinion, that influx will increase because what the facilities are very good at doing like the USS Comfort in providing acute care, this is going to be a long-term problem and it's hard to provide long-term care when you're shuffling people across an ocean to a ship," he added.

Although some of these survivors will likely face a series of obstacles in the future, doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital remain hopeful they will survive whatever lies ahead.