Christiana Care is helping to support volunteers who are saving lives in Haiti, where countless thousands of people are sick, injured and homeless in the wake of the devastating earthquake there.
The health care system has donated in medical supplies and drugs to the Delaware Medical Relief Team, a group of doctors, nurses and other volunteers. So far, the group has sent four teams to Haiti.
In response to the crisis, Christiana Care is also supporting volunteers with a new plan for paid administrative leave. With a manager’s approval, staff who volunteer for approved humanitarian relief missions can receive pay for up to two weeks. Staff members who already have volunteered can receive retroactive pay.
Anand Panwalker, M.D., president of the Medical-Dental Staff, praised DMRT’s efforts, saying the team showed courage, tenacity, skill and compassion, working long hours under extreme conditions.
“They brought great pride to Christiana Care,” he said. “They put us on the map.”
Dr. Panwalker said the Medical-Dental Staff board voted to support DMRT by donating $40,000 that had been earmarked for the group’s annual picnic.
The first team saw approximately 5,000 patients and performed more than 20 surgeries, including four amputations.
“Without the amputations they performed, those people, including a little girl, would be dead,” Lanny Edelsohn, M.D., a neurologist, told a News Journal reporter who accompanied the team.
Reynold Agard, M.D., said many people were seriously hurt when buildings collapsed in the Jan. 12 quake. Others were uninjured but later suffered strokes because they no longer had access to blood pressure medicine.
Dr. Agard and 20 others on the first DMRT team left on Jan. 21 for St. Michel Hospital in Jacmel, 60 miles from the Haitian capital of Port au Prince.
They found the hospital in ruins. So the team set up tents, managed to get an abandoned generator working, and started treating patients. The DMRT volunteers also shared supplies with medical workers from Cuba and assisted them with several surgeries.
In February, Kimberly Evans, MS, RT, Operations Manager, Christiana Care Imaging Services, was part of a group of volunteers who delivered desperately needed medical supplies, staples and toiletries.
“I had an incredible opportunity to represent the team in taking 140 cases of Crisis Care Kits along with water and food donated by the Dominicans and all of the medical supplies donated by the CCHS family,” she said.