Cooper medical mission travels to Haiti

    The group of doctors arrived in Santo Domingo on Sunday and is meeting up with a second plane load of medical staff and supplies Monday.

    A medical mission from Cooper University Hospital in Camden is facing some security concerns as they make their way from the Dominican Republic to treat wounded Haitians. The group of doctors arrived in Santo Domingo on Sunday and is meeting up with a second plane load of medical staff and supplies Monday.

    The team of doctors, nurses and technicians plan to travel first to a hospital in the Dominican town of Jimani, a border town in need of help. Ian Butler is a doctor who helps run the critical care unit at Cooper.

    Butler says he’s in touch with doctors in Jimani, where the hospital staff has worked three days straight without sleep. On Sunday, the hospital treated about 4,000 Haitians who made their way across the border into the Dominican Republic. He says in just one day, they performed 200 amputations. When crushed limbs go untreated, Butler says the wounds quickly become life threatening.

    Butler: Once it spreads to the body, they’re physiologic systems responding to the toxins of the bacteria that infected them start to go awry and those become people who require urgent support otherwise they’re at risk of dying quickly.

    Butler says that even with the best standards of medical care, such a patient would have about 60 percent chance of surviving. The team plans to travel across the border into Haiti as well. But they’re getting reports of piracy on the roads and are trying to secure a UN escort.

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