A Chicagoan In Haiti

A Chicagoan In Haiti on ChicagoNow Radio

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

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Behind the Scenes of A Tent Hospital in Haiti

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

We inhaled dust and diesel fumes all day, then traded stories about the patients we'd met that day and how we'd tried to stifle our emotions in front of them. We ate one hot meal a day. Rice and beans. We took cold bucket showers and drank warm well water.  We slept on the ground in tents. And when the Italian soldiers showed up in their helicopter, we stood in line to take our pictures with them. It was hot and we were sweaty and tired and smelly. The doctors, nurses and physical therapists at the field hospital in Fond Parisien, run by a joint effort by the University of Chicago and Harvard, worked 18-hour days and often longer. These pictures show why.

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A Close-Up View Inside the Tent Cities of Port-au-Prince

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

I expected them to shy away, but the residents in the various tent cities that have sprouted up all over Port-au-Prince wanted me to see inside their make-shift tents. Most were no bigger than a coat closet, but that's where entire families slept on the ground. These residents thought that I might be able to secure them real tents, not the sheets and scrap plywood they meshed together to make a shanty. In one of the spontaneous tent cities at the National Soccer Stadium, children asked me to take them to the orphanage because they had no mother and father and no tent. I found a woman inside her family's tarp home who had borne a baby at the stadium only a month earlier. Their stories are heart-breaking. 

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A Close-Up View Inside Port-au-Prince

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

Downtown Port-au-Prince is a scene of rebuilding and violence. While some parts of the city are returning to a "normal" existence with vendors selling their wares next to the piles of rubble, other areas remain unsafe. The downtown area, where most of the destruction occurred, is unstable. On Wednesday, two bodies were discovered in the market area. They had been beaten to death and left in the middle of a crowded intersection in the middle of the morning. Haitian police told me: "No one see anything in Haiti because they are too afraid."

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A View Inside a Field Hospital in Haiti

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

 

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A View Inside a Field Hospital in Haiti

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

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A day in Port-au-Prince

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

For a more personal account.

I just returned from Port-au-Prince, a city of constant contrasts. While some buildings were rendered to rubble, buildings next door were left standing. People are digging out, if only by one shovel at a time.

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First Full Day in Haiti

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

For a more personal account.


Last night I went to sleep with a full moon shining in my tent. Everyone was still a little keyed up from the trip and had a hard time sleeping. It was also very hot and sticky. We mostly lay on top of our sleeping bags tossing and turning. 


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Finally In Haiti

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

We left Santo Domingo this morning excited to reach Haiti and begin work. But two hours later we were stopped at the town of Jaquimeyes, about two hours from the Haitian border. The village decided to block the road with trees and set off firecrackers. A long line of buses and cars were stopped and drivers were trying to negotiate their way through. After nearly an hour and much negotiation, we finally turned around and went the back roads. We finally arrived at Love A Child orphanage in Fond Parisien at 6 p.m. 

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Landed in Santo Domingo

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.

After all day traveling, we finally ended up at our hotel in Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic. The team of nurses and docs who are heading back to Chicago met us over beers and shared stories and tips. Fond Parisien is now the largest field hospital in Haiti with over 300 patients. What's unique about this venture is that it's normally the NGO's responding to medical needs after a disaster, but this time it's an informal collaboration between teaching hospitals and other institutions.

Oh and about those rats. Yes, they exist, we were told tonight. But mostly they come out at night near the port-o-potties, or so we are told. 

Tomorrow morning we load the bus with our 20 giant red bags full of medical supplies and head to Fond Parisien and Haiti. It's only 100 miles, but it takes six hours. I promise to upload photos tomorrow. Too beat tonight.

Going to Haiti

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Cheryl Reed

I'm senior editor for publications at the Unversity of Chicago Medical Center and I'm following a team of doctors, nurses and physical therapists to the field hospital we help run outside of Port-au-Prince.


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The tent hospital in Fond Parisien in Haiti where a team from the University of Chicago Medical Center is caring for earthquake survivors.


Less than 18 hours from liftoff to Haiti, and I'm packing my bags, taking my anti-malaria tablets and thinking of buying moth balls to deter the rats at the tent hospital in Fond Parisien where I'm headed. I'm traveling with doctors, nurses and physical therapists from the University of Chicago Medical Center where I work as an in-house journalist.

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