FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. (Feb. 26, 2010) – For the second time since the tragic earthquake changed millions of lives in Haiti, Piedmont Healthcare responded to the urgent need for medical care in Haiti by supporting a team of physicians in their week-long stay aiding the medical staff of Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti.
On Saturday, February 6, six medical professionals departed from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport and traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The group included Michael Behr, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon; Robert Hendley, PA-C, anesthesiology physician assistant; and Jonathan Clayton, M.D., anesthesiologist; who are all on staff at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. Also, making the trip were orthopaedic surgeons Stephen Smith, M.D., on staff at Piedmont Hospital; Obi Ugwonali, M.D., on staff at Northside Hospital; and Danny Guy, M.D., on staff at West Georgia Health System. The expertise of the team fulfilled one of the major medical needs requested in Haiti, that of repairing broken and crushed bones.
“This trip was organized and came together very quickly,” said Michael Behr, M.D. “Things are changing in Haiti so quickly we weren’t sure exactly what we were going to find, but we treated both primary wounds and fractures that hadn’t been treated as well as secondary wounds, some with infections – that had developed since their initial treatment.”
Together Piedmont Hospital and Piedmont Fayette Hospital donated over $50,000 worth of much needed pharmaceuticals and supplies including antibiotics, anesthesia medications and the equipment needed for the delivery of anesthesia. Among the various pieces of equipment sent were orthopaedic surgical tools and an automatic tourniquet system that enables physicians to control the blood flow to limbs during surgery. A clinician from Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti had contacted a Piedmont physician days before the trip to say that they were completely out of antibiotics and anesthesia medications.
“We went down with some of the best orthopaedic surgeons – not only in Atlanta – but the Southeast, and I’m proud to be a part of this Piedmont group,” said Jonathan Clayton, M.D. “We tried to help people who have nothing; basically giving a little back to an area that really needs it.”
Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti has had a longstanding relationship with the physicians of Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic where Dr. Smith practices. Every four months since 1957, surgeons from Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic have traveled to Haiti to provide orthopaedic care to impoverished Haitians who would otherwise go untreated. For more information about Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti visit hashaiti.org.