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what happened

Haiti experienced a 7.2 magnitude earthquake the morning of Saturday, August 14, following another earthquake measuring 6.0, that created more chaos and confusion.

“On Monday we went out to the island, treated 30 patients, and discovered the Coast Guard helicopter isn’t coming after all. We were faced with the difficult decision to leave some of the patients there to die from their injuries, or take them in to the mainland with our boats. During this time we were racing a tropical storm that was supposed to hit at 2:00 p.m. We decided to take 4 of the worst patients with us that had the best chance at making the trip alive. We loaded up 28 people onto 3 boats and started our 2 hour return trip. We drove headlong into the storm and had some intense moments with 2 of the boats, including bailing water most of the way because of the waves and spray crashing in.
After 2 hours of battling wind, rain, and waves, we arrived at the trucks. We then loaded the patients, and drove another 3 hours to a hospital and dropped them off. One of my most challenging moments was when we decided not to transport an elderly lady with part of her jaw crushed and her face severely damaged. We knew she might not make it to shore alive so we sent her home with her family. She wasn’t able to eat or drink, and had no pain medication. Several times we had to pick and choose who we take with us and lives, and who we leave behind to die. We left 2 critical patients behind…It was an intense day that was both physically and emotionally challenging but we felt the prayers of many!
Yesterday and today the storm severely limited us in our relief efforts. There are still many people awaiting for medical assistance in the remote areas that are only accessible by boat or helicopter due to landslides closing the roads. We are hoping the water is calm enough tomorrow to once again rescue the most critical patients and transport them to facilities where medical help is available. We are also hoping that the helicopters will be able to provide assistance in our efforts. 

Please pray for wisdom and discernment when faced with these decisions. It weighs heavily on each of us when we need to make decisions that could determine who lives and who doesn’t.”

– Daniel 

Wrapping the project up

On Thursday we traveled two hours by boat to a remote town along the coast that hadn’t received much help yet. We went to the hospital where we found the staff overwhelmed and burned out emotionally from working with the critically injured patients. They did not have the resources to properly treat some of their patients, which needed to be immediately evacuated to a bigger hospital for treatment. 

We committed to finding transportation for some of the patients, even if it meant evacuating them by boat. The team leader made some phone calls, and soon found 2 helicopters that were available to fly out the worst 5 patients in the hospital. We started triaging, treating, and preparing these patients for transport. It got intense, as we had a short amount of time to treat and prepare the patients before the helicopters landed. 
One of the patients got much worse when we moved her onto a backboard, and we realized she might die if we don’t immediately stabilize her. As I was working on her I kept my one hand on her head and prayed. She then stabilized in 3 minutes. We also needed each patient on a backboard, however we were short three backboards. We ended up making makeshift stretchers out of office dividers, a desk top, and an old wooden door. The U.S. Army showed up in a helicopter and evacuated the first patient, then the U.S. Coast Guard came and picked up the remaining four patients. After all the patients were evacuated we had a 2 hour boat ride back to the dock, then a 3 hour drive back to the place we were staying. It was an intense but rewarding day, where patients were treated and evacuated, and lives were saved. It was a joint effort of 4 organizations, the hospital, and the U.S. military. 
We want to thank all our supporters for giving us the ability to rapidly respond to this crisis in Haiti. It is because of you that we can continue to impact lives for Christ!

photos from the field

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