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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Message from Dr. David Griswell of DC

I didn't want to come to Haiti for this disaster. It was very
inconvenient because I was scheduled for many night shifts in my
Emergency department at The Virginia Hospital Center -Arlington. I am
an emergency physician who has been to Hurricanes Georges and Mitch
and numerous medical trips to The Dominican Republic and Honduras.
However I was touched by the images coming out of Haiti and decided I
would try to go. My colleagues from Emergency Medicine Associates
pooled together and covered all my 10 shifts and I came down hoping to
dovetail with de Dominican Red cross or some other group and cross
over into Haiti. I met the leader of a group called Team Rubicon and
joined them.

As I've already stated, I have responded to other disasters. For both
Mitch and Georges, I was in country the day after their respective
airports opened back up and in both those disaster the suffering was
great. They seem to me now so minor in comparison with this human
tragedy. Never have I seen such widespread suffering.

On our first day out, we went to a Jesuit refugee center and saw
heartbreaking cases of young people who will lose hands and legs from
crush injuries and unattended week old wounds. What makes them
especially painful to stomach is that almost all of them were
complications from unavailability of treatment in a timely manner. So
when a 30 year old right handed man loses his right hand, or the 8
year boy I saw today loses his leg, it is almost unbearably emotional
for me.

Today, I took over the Emergency Department at the largest hospital in
Haiti for a few hours because there were no emergency physicians
staffing it.. There were other physicians of other specialties doing a
valiant effort of trying to do it without supplies, electricity or any
ancillary services. I constantly felt like crying and when I left for
the day I actually did cry. Every case was worse than the previous
one. It is so frustrating to have to treat so many with so little
while knowing that at the airport there are a ton of supplies that
aren't being released.

This is a great team and I feel that there was Divine intervention in
bringing us all together. I think all of us will leave Haiti better
people than when we arrived. I also more than ever feel that
individuals do make a difference. What we do for our fellow brothers
and sisters does matter. We are all our brother's keeper.

David L. Griswell, MD
Virginia Medical Center Arlington

3 comments:

  1. many thanks for what you are doing for Haitians and for humanity.

    best wishes,

    john

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dr. Griswell, I thank you and your team mates for what you are doing. May God continue to guide you and keep you safe.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your mention of Divine Intervention is a reminder to me to pray for you, and your team, and all who are trying to help the people of Haiti--that God may uphold you with His grace.

    "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

    from California Girl

    ReplyDelete