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Selma Medical Team Share Stories of Haiti

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A medical team from Selma just flew home from Port-au-Prince after volunteering there for the last week. This team is made up of three nurses, one doctor and a former army medic.

They've all seen gun shots, stabbings and assaults before but nothing prepared them for what they encountered once they got to their destination.

Inside Dr. Joaquin Arambula's iPhone are 5 days worth of photos chronicling the mass destruction in Haiti and the affects on its inhabitants. "It's going to take more than two days, two weeks, two years to fix the structures and issues that they are going to have," he said.

Sunday afternoon Dr. Arambula and fellow nurses Jennifer Tarazon, Tamara Bryan and Tim Miller met in Northwest Fresno to wind down and reflect on what they saw in Port-au-Prince.

"We had a floor of 75 kids that were either amputations, waiting for amputations, dehydration and they actually had a death from tetanus," said Tarazon.

Bryan added: "Things are in boxes laying around and the supplies you have to work with are far and few you have to just rig things together and make your own equipment."

"There's no way this country will be anywhere near [where] it was, which it is still behind, in 30 years," said Thomas Miller a former Army medic.

Miller said there was too much red tape keeping them from doing their jobs effectively. "I think there needs to be a non-government group that in some way creates a liaison that can somehow filter the right people to the right places," he said.

The few times they were able to venture out they were under constant military guard.

"God bless our troops, those guys. Talk about the professionalism. Everything was amazing. We couldn't have gone anywhere without them," said Miller.

This group, which managed to survive off of 8 hours of sleep, said the memories of the children they met will stay with them forever.

"You're taking care of a child and she's trying to hug you and she only has one arm and you want to cry but she's smiling and she's laughing and she's just thankful that you're there," said Tarazon:

"They need help. They need a lot of help. I would go back in a heart beat. Without even thinking twice about it," said Bryan.

This group was able to donate 50 wheelchairs to people in need through the Wheelchair Foundation. They want to go back but they have to raise the money first...they say it costs thousands of dollars to ship supplies and themselves into the disaster area.

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Tags:
haiti, selma, fresno northwest, local, john-thomas kobos
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