Port-au-Prince victims of the Haiti Earthquake were left writhing in pain overnight, after UN personnel ordered the closure of a Make-shift hospital and the evacuation of its Belgian Medical Team, due to security concerns.
In a move which is bound to have severe repurcussions for the UN, the Hospital’s patients were forcably abandoned, leaving only a CNN News Team led by Dr Sanjay Gupta to care for them. If it wasn’t for these individuals and a few caring locals stepping in, it is highly probable that many of the patients would have died.
After being informed that the Hospital was closing overnight, Dr Gupta was left as the only Doctor to care for these patients, many of whom had just suffered severe head injuries and other major trauma’s. In an interview with CNN, Gupta expressed the following:
“What is striking to me as a physician is that patients who just had surgery, patients who are critically ill are essentially being left here, nobody to care for them.”
In another interview with CNN, Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré, US Army (Ret.), who led relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, commented upon the situation:
“Search and Rescue must trump Security. I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life. They need to man up and get back in there.”
Now normally I have the utmost respect for Doctors and the UN, though decisions and actions such as this are just completely unforgivable, not to meantion shameful. If the Doctors were being ordered to move, they should have taken their patients with them. If they weren’t allowed to, they should have given the relevant UN Officials the “Bird”, and carried on with their work. If a location isn’t safe enough for the Medical Team, then it most certainly isn’t safe enough for patients to be just left to die. Whether they were forced to go or not, the Doctors shouldn’t have abandoned their patients.
In contrast however, I have the utmost admiration, appreciation and respect for Dr Gupta and his team from CNN. This team includes CNN’s Tim Crockett, Jonathan Schaer and one of my mentors, the intrepid Danielle Dellorto. Having witnessed her kindness, honesty and wisdom during my own darkest hour, I know that “Dani” would have done her best to help and comfort the injured, while she would have been a source of inspiration and encouragement for the rest of her team. In a world dominated by instant communication, neither words or photographs can describe how proud I am of my mentor and her colleagues.
Here are some of the Tweets from CNN’s Dr Gupta and Danielle Dellorto from throughout the night:
Kate Doak is a Postgraduate Student at the University of New England, Australia. Over several years she has changed beats twice, genders once and has interviewed some of Australia’s top Authors, Politicians, Musicians and Journalists for TUNE! FM. Nowadays, Kate primarily focuses on International History and Current Affairs.