Cutting Red Tape was Key to Haiti mission
January 22, 2010
  • Share
  • As global and local organizations continue to struggle to get doctors and other medical volunteers to Haiti, the Hospital for Special Surgery credits its success in overcoming obstacles to a corporate donor. Synthes, a global medical device manufacturer that has its U.S. headquarters in West Chester, Pa., gave the hospital’s doctor/volunteers unlimited use of its corporate jet to fly surgical teams in and out of Port-au-Prince.

    As a result, HSS was able to get doctors into surgery in Haiti while most other medical volunteers struggled to reach the stricken country on commercial flights. With critically injured patients waiting and the window for helping them closing, “time was really important in getting doctors down there,” says a spokeswoman for HSS. “That’s why it was so crucial to cut through the red tape.”

    Led by HSS orthopedic surgery chief David Helfet, a team has been working since Saturday at Hopital CommunautŽ Haitienne in the Port-au-Prince suburb of PŽtionville. The group included New York-Presbyterian’s emergency medicine chief and several doctors who have dual HSS/NYP appointments. Both hospitals donated medical supplies as well. A three-person team from Montefiore Medical Center was due to arrive in Haiti last night.

    Meanwhile, international groups such as Doctors without Borders and Partners In Health – as well as national groups including the Association of American Medical Colleges – have been collecting names and rŽsumŽs of potential medical volunteers for what is likely to be a sustained effort.

    “We’re probably going to return later to do more orthopedic surgery,” the HSS spokeswoman says.

    Date: 2010-01-19