GTA paramedics, doctors, prepare for Haiti mission
Published Sunday, January 17, 2010 7:25PM EST
Thirteen GTA health care workers will head to Haiti this week to restock depleted medical supplies and help those already caring for the injured.
Ten paramedics, three doctors and a pastor will go with non-profit organization Feed The Children. Members of the group are mostly from Halton Region.
They will bring the medical supplies, and back up four exhausted paramedics who were already on the ground when the earthquake hit last Tuesday.
Halton paramedic Grant Rumford was in Haiti when the earthquake hit and is providing updates to CTV Toronto via webcam.
Five of the paramedics leaving Tuesday are his coworkers.
"We're going because one of our colleagues is down there. He needs our help," said paramedic Peter McMurrough.
"There's a whole nation down there that needs our help."
The group is waiting for an Air Canada flight that will take them and the medicine to Haiti, but it is still unclear whether commercial planes will be allowed to touch down at the overwhelmed airport in Port-au-Prince.
Dr. Anthony Brown, from Port Perry, is one of the doctors heading to Port-au-Prince and the city of Titanyen to staff the two clinics.
He said the longer the crew waits in Canada, the longer survivors in Haiti will suffer.
The clinics ran out of painkillers, and paramedics have nothing to ease the agony of victims with severe wounds.
"Every hour just means there's more people suffering and that are going to die," he told CTV News.
"I just want to be there because there's just so much need."
The paramedics already on the ground are overwhelmed and need the backup.
One clinic is inundated with victims, and paramedics are using a church with minimal damage as a makeshift clinic.
Feed The Children is planning on sending different paramedic teams into the country for as long as they are needed.
Each team member will pay for the trip out of their own pocket. Sunday, they got help from Forest View Church Without Walls in Oakville, which donated $10,000 to their mission.
Cliff Cline, the director of Feed The Children said as time passes, it will be difficult for first response paramedics to use their skills in Haiti to their fullest potential.
He said paramedics are first responders used to treating immediate injuries and not infections will soon develop.
"Were unfortunately anticipate there's going to be longer issues because not everyone is going to have a first response," Cline said.