Ont. paramedic in Haiti says hospitals are overwhelmed
Published Friday, January 15, 2010 8:22AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 12:43AM EDT
An exhausted Ontario paramedic helping to treat the wounded and desperate survivors at a medical clinic in earthquake-stricken Haiti says the situation is dire, especially in hospitals around the capital city which have been overwhelmed with victims needing treatment.
Grant Rumford, who has been in Haiti with his family since September, said volunteers are doing as much as they can with the limited resources they have.
"At our location we are in a better position today than we were yesterday," he said, explaining that Christian missions have sent them a substantial amount of supplies since the earthquake struck Tuesday evening.
"Having said that, we're still not a hospital but we have (sic) help so we feel encouraged," he told CTV's Canada AM Friday during an interview over Skype. "We're just going to do as much as we can for as many as possible."
He said the night after the 7.0 earthquake, he sent two patients to a better equipped hospital but he soon realized all medical facilities were being strained.
Red Cross officials estimate the death toll in Haiti to be around 50,000 people with thousands more injured.
"Ive learned in the past 36 hours that sending people out of here is pretty futile," he said. "I sent two patients the night after the quake and both are not going to make it.
"I've seen the hospital, I've seen the bodies and we're going to do our best to take care of people here," he added, with a weary look on his face.
Rumford's wife Sandy has been updating the family's blog and her Facebook account with details of the ordeal and their experience.
"Grant's stories will slowly come out in the coming weeks," she said. "He is beyond exhausted, physically and emotionally. He feels as though he has done and seen more in the last 48 hours than he could have done in an entire year as a paramedic in Ontario."
She said emotions are running high in their family, particularly with their young children who have been shaken up by the ordeal.
"I saw things and did things I never though I could handle," she said.
She talks about helping her husband and a doctor reset a woman's femur bone that was sticking out of her leg.
"Her anguished screams of pain tore at my heart, there were no pain medications to give her but it had to be done so she could be stitched up and infections could be avoided," she said.
She also talked about seeing children die and struggling to tell their parents of the tragic outcome.
The Rumfords are in Haiti working with the Mission of Hope. They are originally from the Halton area.