Haitian-American L.A. doc opens clinic in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (KABC) -- [Editor's note: Eyewitness News Anchor David Ono and ABC7 Photographer Sean Patrick Lewis arrived Monday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to cover events following a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Tuesday, Jan. 12.]
A local surgeon, Dr. Henri Ford, chief of surgery at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, traveled to Haiti after last week's devastating earthquake. Once he arrived, he set up a portable hospital where he's saving lives daily. The mission is deeply personal for him.
Ford is accomplishing what seems to be impossible: He's helped recreate an entire hospital in the middle of a field. Ford is Haitian. So while he's in this field helping people heal, you wonder if there's anything that can be done to help him heal.
"What you're looking at is an old soccer field that was associated with this university. This is Quisqueya University," said Ford. "This soccer field, where people were playing on it all the time, has been taken over by the people who are essentially becoming disenfranchised following this earthquake."
We're sitting 15 feet up on stone bleachers overlooking utter heartbreak and squalor.
Haiti is Ford's native country. "This is a strange sort of homecoming," said Ford. "I was born in Haiti. I left Haiti just before my 14th birthday to move to the United States. In fact, I lived about a mile, mile and a half away from here. I used to walk around here."
Upon hearing of the devastation, Ford came to Haiti as fast as he could to set up an impressive mobile medical unit and he began to heal people.
As a contrast to all the horrible injuries Ford's makeshift hospital is seeing, they've also delivered six babies, including one just an hour ago.
The good news for these patients is they are finally getting the medical aid they desperately need. The bad news: They have nowhere to go, and that's why they end up here on a soccer field right next door.
"It's absolutely gut-wrenching to see what has happened to this entire community," said Ford.
Ford is an excellent surgeon and a strong leader with a vision for the future. But even he has a hard time envisioning his beloved country recovering from this.
"You talk to the people here, their stories are just beyond belief," said Ford. "It's hard. It's been very hard."
There's something else brilliant that Ford is doing. When he gets a complicated case where a child comes in with an injury, he'll take a picture of that and send that picture back to the doctors in Los Angeles at Childrens Hospital. They will help evaluate the diagnosis. That system is reportedly working brilliantly. Top-of-the-line experts from Los Angeles helping the injured in Haiti.
earthquake, medical emergency, earthquake center, david ono
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