Sanford- Brown White Plains Instructor Provides Medical Relief to Haitians
August 30, 2012
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Dr. Margarita Santos, instructor in the Medical Assisting and Billing and Coding Program at SBI White Plains traveled with 90 other volunteers to Haiti in July with The National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians – NOAH.
An empty school and a converted church were used as clinics in Fort Liberte. There were no lab facilities so volunteers had to rely on verbal histories to diagnose and treat patients. There was often a language barrier and translations were made from English to Spanish to Creole. Dr. Santos separated from the large group to go with four other physicians to even smaller neighboring towns of Derac and Dumas.
More than 1,000 patients were treated in seven days. Surgeons worked 12 hour days and made a real impact. The volunteers did their best to make the medicines and supplies go as far as possible. The workday had to end as soon as it became dark despite many patients waiting and hoping to get medical care.
It was very hard to leave after working so hard, knowing there is still such a long way to go.
After a short rest when she returned home Dr. Santos was back to work teaching. She presented photos and reflections from her trip to several classes. Students saw examples of terrible skin rashes, infections and injuries. Some of the many problems are lack of clean water, poor diet – resulting in protein deficiency, anemia, dehydration and high blood pressure. There is a constant lack of medical care, medicine and supplies.
The spirit of volunteers and organized efforts like this shine a light on the needs of others. The campus rallied to help contribute to this medical mission. Students, instructors and staff held a bake sale, a benefit luncheon and an “Operation” game contest. The school also donated several boxes of much needed medial supplies. Thanks to Dr. Santos and NOAH our students are aware and know that they are learning skills that will enable them to join in efforts like this and make a real difference.