Medical care in Dallas saves Haiti earthquake victim's life

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by DEBBIE DENMON

WFAA

Posted on August 15, 2010 at 9:43 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 15 at 10:54 PM

DALLAS - The Leap Foundation of Dallas treated around 1,000 patients during its medical mission in Haiti, but there was one earthquake victim they could not help in Port Au Prince.

The challenge was getting the Mariline Jean to Baylor Hospital for some life-saving medical care.

No one thought it would happen due to visa issues alone but it seems healing was in a higher power's hands.

Jean knew she had an angel, in fact make that a few angels in the form of North Texans, hovering over her as she has taken some painful steps to recovery.

The 24-year-old is making great strides, after being one of a few classmates, to survive more than two days in concrete rubble.

"She was the child of eight kids to go to college. She was in her fourth year, three months from graduating from the university, and the earthquake... the whole world collapsed on her," said Dr. Craig Hobar from Leap Foundation of Dallas.

Dr. Hobar is the medical director for Leap.

He and his team spent several months in Haiti helping people like Mariline Jean, who experienced loss of limbs, but they were determined to not let her injuries lead to loss of life.

"With her severe infection... [she] was close to dying... [we] knew we had to get her back here," he said.

So, this plastic surgeon said he prayed for a miracle: getting Mariline emergency care in the United States - a first for his foundation and proof to him the power of prayer is real.

"She's been fitted with a prosthetic arm. She's been fitted with a prosthetic leg. She's gone from 87 pounds to 110 pounds now," he said.

"It's been a story of huge love," said Heather Early, director of ministry for Leap.

Dr. Hobar and his wife have grown personally attached, as they hosted Mariline and her sister in their home.

It was home for a Haitian who lost so much but didn't lose the most important thing.

"I have hope!" Jean said.

She also has a smile that will long be remembered even when she returns to her homeland.

Jean is going back to Haiti and says she believes God brought her through the earthquake for a purpose. Those same North Texas doctors who helped her hope she will make it her mission to help other amputees.

E-mail: ddenmon@wfaa.com

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