ATLANTA, Ga. (January 7, 2011) – Piedmont Hospital’s James Ingvoldstad, M.D. was awarded the prestigious Georgia Hospital Heroes Award at the Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) annual Hospital Heroes Awards luncheon Dec. 7 in Atlanta. Dr. Ingvoldstad, who was one of only 10 individuals statewide to receive the award, was recognized for his tireless efforts in providing care to Haitian earthquake victims.
Dr. Ingvoldstad has worked at the hospital since 1993 and has been practicing medicine for nearly 40 years. He had been traveling to Haiti on church mission trips several times a year since 2001, and was there when disaster struck.
A few days before the earthquake hit, Dr. Ingvoldstad had arrived on a mission trip on the Haitian island of Gonâve, about 30 miles away from the mainland and capital, Port-au-Prince. He and other members on the trip were in the midst of doing their usual tasks, such as setting up and running medical clinics and teaching dental hygiene to the children. He treated patients at the Wesleyan Hospital, also located on the island.
When the earthquake hit Jan. 12, Dr. Ingvoldstad decided to stay in Haiti where he was needed most, despite having several opportunities to return home. Many patients traveled by boat from the capital to Wesleyan Hospital to have their wounds treated. The hospital’s main surgeon and nurse anesthetist left to anxiously search for their families on the mainland, so Dr. Ingvoldstad stepped up to treat, on his own, the many patients who came to the hospital.
On Jan. 16, he and other nurses and physicians boarded a lobster boat, donated from Nova Scotia, and traveled to the capital to help even more patients. The following day, they traveled to Car-fu-faix, one of the worst hit areas, and set up a make-shift clinic in a lone remaining school classroom. They treated about 100 patients, often without anesthesia, who came with major and minor orthopaedic injuries and flesh wounds. One of the most difficult situations he found himself in was to deliver a baby, via Caesarean section, under local anesthesia.
“Dr. Ingvoldstad’s commitment to saving lives and putting the well-being of others above his own makes him a hero that the Georgia hospital community is so proud of,” said Joe Parker, president of GHA. “That, along with his dedication and positive impact on his community, make him an ideal recipient of this award.”
GHA’s Hospital Heroes Awards are presented every year to 10 individuals who display outstanding service to the health care field; in addition, one individual is presented with a Lifetime Achievement award, signifying at least 30 years of service.