Dallas doctors work through the night to help quake victims

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by MONIKA DIAZ / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on January 27, 2011 at 3:30 PM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Medical teams from North Texas, Florida and North Carolina were still working Sunday night outside and inside Sacred Heart Hospital in Port-au-Prince, trying to help as many earthquake victims as possible.

Their efforts were made more difficult after running out of both oxygen and blood.

Patients desperate for medical care continued to arrive at nightfall Sunday. Dozens of stretchers already covered the hospital's parking lot. The open-air emergency room set up by a team of Dallas doctors from Forest Park Medical Center keeps growing.

Doctors and nurses are scrambling for precious facilities, but there aren't enough to handle the need.

"There's not a single patient in a bed inside the hospital because up until a few hours ago, they deemed it structurally unsafe," explained Dr. Craig Hobar of the LEAP Foundation.

In some cases, the drugs and tools needed for lifesaving surgery are nowhere to be found. With lives in the balance, medical personnel are forced to make tough decisions.

"It's draining; it really is," said Bess Rangel of Forest Park Medical Center. "It gets hard, because you want to help everybody and you're being pulled in every direction, and then — eventually, as Dr. Toussaint said — there's just some you can save, and some you can't save, and that's what we had today, so it was hard."

In the midst of chaos, however, the Dallas medics still see hope. "We're saving people, and that's what we've got to focus on; we're saving as many people as we can," Dr. Hobar said.

Most of the medical teams working at the hospital on Sunday are scheduled to return to the U.S. on Monday.

An aircraft with 70 doctors from all around the U.S. is expected to touch down in Port-au-Prince within the next 24 hours to be dispatched to medical facilities in the quake zone.

Forest Park Medical Center welcomes financial contributions to its Haiti relief effort at this address:

Forest Park Medical Center
Attn: Becca Sills
11990 North Central Expressway
Dallas, TX 75243

Checks should be made out to Forest Park Medical Center. Officials at the hospital say they do not need any volunteers at this time and cannot offer transport to the disaster zone.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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