Friday, April 9, 2010

Haiti Hospital Forced to Close

Paramedic Chris Bousquat and Dr. Tim McNamee carry a wounded patient into the Emergency Room at CDTI Hospital in Haiti.

Moments after the ground stopped shaking and many buildings crumbled to the ground in Port-au-Prince, the first badly injured Haitian was carried into the private CDTI Hospital seeking help.

For the next 11 weeks, the owners of the hospital kept the facility open, while Haitian and foreign doctors -- many from Brevard County -- treated more then 10,500 people and performed close to 4,000 surgeries.

Patients didn't have to pay.

Help for the hospital came in the form of donated medications and supplies and volunteer time from medical professionals and orderlies. But promises from military organizations and -- more importantly -- money never materialized. Part of that was an oversight by hospital administrators who missed key deadlines, and part was because money promised by charities never came through.

The hospital has closed because owners can't pay for the 400 gallons of diesel needed daily to fuel generators or salaries for the staff of 170 who kept working despite damage to their own homes.

"Foreign fundraising activities under the name of the hospital were organized, but support funds today are yet to be received," said Alex Von Lignau, a Florida Tech graduate and brother-in-law of the doctor who owns the private hospital. "This is a classic case of where assistance policies meet reality in a developing country. It is a very sad ending for such a great humanitarian effort.

"The only satisfaction is that many, many quake-injured Haitians found some relief care in the effort."

Von Lignau's sister, Katia Chenet, and her husband, dentist Cedric Chenet, live in Melbourne. They said there is a chance the closure could be temporary. Cedric Chenet is the cousin of Dr. Reynold Savain, who owns the hospital.

Missed deadline

The Brevard medical personnel came to volunteer at the hospital because of a connection made last year, when Katia Chenet learned Dr. Stephen Badolato was looking for someone who spoke Creole to help with a Haitian burn victim he later adopted.

Chenet reached out, and a friendship was struck. After the earthquake hit, plans were made to send doctors to the hospital.

Source: FloridaToday

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