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Haiti hospital heroes' care mission continues

PUBLISHED: 11:36 22 July 2010 | UPDATED: 18:06 25 August 2010

Six months after a devastating earthquake killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti a hospital charity continues to provide lifesaving care to survivors of the disaster.

Six months after a devastating earthquake killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti a hospital charity continues to provide lifesaving care to survivors of the disaster.

Hundreds of thousands of people are still living in huge tent cities on the Carribean island half a year after the quake struck on January 12.

One of the volunteers for the Haiti Hospital Appeal, Angela Hill, 31, of Charmouth Road, Welling, worked in a specialist spinal injury hospital which was the first of its kind on the island and built as part of the appeal, set up in 2006 to improve healthcare facilities.

The hospital - founded by Carwyn Hill from West Wickham with help from his brother Ieuan, husband of Mrs Hill - is still working with survivors on the impoverished Caribbean island.

Mrs Hill, who flew out immediately after the earthquake, completed just one day's training in spinal cord injury before she started her lifesaving work.

She said: "The patients all had devastating stories of great physical and emotional pain. One lady had lost her child, her husband and siblings, another gentleman in his fourth year of university is the only survivor in his class, and the stories continue with everyone having lost loved ones and their homes - their lives would never be the same again.

"Some of the patients were fortunate to have had surgical intervention in nearby hospitals staffed by international volunteers and were able to begin full active rehab. Others were less fortunate and had not had surgery, mostly due to the severity of the pressure wounds they had sustained before they were transferred to our unit."

The hospital, based in Quataer Moian in the North of the country, was home to 19 patients who were transported by ambulance from the capital Port-au-Prince.

Foreign medical professionals believed at least 50 per cent of the patients would die. However, six months on, six of the 19 patients have been discharged and the rest remain in the clinic.

Mrs Hill continued: "Some of the people who had been walking for the first time are now discharged. It's phenomenal and special to be part of that."

The charity was set up by Mrs Hill's brother-in-law, Carwyn Hill, who is currently living on the island.

Mrs Hill went out to Haiti with her husband, Greenwich police officer Ieuan Hill, brother of Carwyn. Speaking from Haiti, Carwyn Hill said: "Its been an incredibly humbling experience and very moving.

"The patients have become like close friends and family and, because most have lost everything, they also have friends or family with them who we're caring for, who are also displaced and homeless.

"It is incredibly challenging and moving to see the resilience, faith and determination of our patients.

A staggering 250,000 homes were damaged in the natural disaster. Most of Haiti's national landmarks were destroyed, including the Presidential Palace, the National Assembly and Port-au-Prince Cathedral. During its short life, the Haiti Hospital Appeal has run a clinic, ambulance service, children's home and built a hospital. For more information and to make a donation, go to www.haitihospitalappeal.org.


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