Selma Doctor Chronicles Haiti Trip on Facebook

January 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Nearly three weeks after a devastating earthquake leveled Haiti, the aftershocks and wrenching images of suffering continue. The five member team from Selma Community Hospital is one of many such groups continuing to arrive in Haiti.

Thousands of injured and suffering Haitians need their help. It is increasingly very grim work.

"I've seen gunshot wounds, I've seen amputations but I've never seen anything like this," said Dr. Joaquin Arambula.

We spoke by phone to Dr. Joaquin Arambula, an emergency room physician at Selma Community Hospital in the middle of another endlessly challenging day for the team.

"Infection so bad that you have no other option, no treatment, uh, besides amputation."

It was a fan of Facebook who alerted Action News that Dr. Arambula was in Haiti and it was Facebook that led to us doing this story.

From touchdown at Port-Au-Prince Airport Arambula started posting to his Facebook page:

"The first night spent in a tent waiting for day light, some kind of transportation and a destination."

"It's not as if - you land and you know, sign up here and they put into a shift here. You really have to go from hospital to hospital to see where you can be of use."

After delivering the wheelchairs they brought with them, the team acquired this van and set up an urgent care triage clinic on their own. Taking serious patients to a nearby hospital or treating lesser wounds like one little boy, nicknamed Popeye.

"Because of the broken forearm. He had a swollen forearm, and he looked like Popeye."

Dr. Arambula told us his father, Valley Assemblyman Juan Arambula, used to say 'the mettle of a man is not when he falls down but when he stands back up - again and again.' And he added that is what the Haitian people must be willing to do now.

"This country is going to continue to have problems and they're going to have to be patient and continue to stand back up."

This medical team will head home Saturday, but they are already making plans to return.


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