Within two weeks of the massive earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12, Barnes-Jewish emergency residents Caleb Trent, MD, and Chet Schrader, MD, made their way to Petit Goave, an area of 170,000 people in the mountains west of Port-au-Prince, where Trent’s not-for-profit organization Aid For Haiti (AFH) provides assistance.
The Petit Goave hospital was damaged with both operating rooms nonfunctional. AFH essentially coordinated an emergency room for the area and was soon seeing about 400 patients a day, including people who were seeking medical care for the first time since the quake.
"I think what really opened my eyes was that as we traveled and went further and saw more damaged areas, you suddenly realized the scope of this," Schrader says.
"You have to add to [a third-world country] a disaster that’s not like things you have seen before. Buildings are just pulverized. Sheets of concrete have been laid down like a blanket. And you realize that this has affected every person you talk to," Trent says.
Several other Barnes-Jewish emergency nurses, residents and Washington University attending physicians have volunteered their vacation time to provide care throughout April.