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L.A. medical team arrives in Haiti to treat earthquake victims

January 18, 2010 | 11:34 am

A team of doctors and nurses from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center is assisting patients at a field hospital in Haiti today, a university spokeswoman said.

The nine-member team arrived in Haiti on Sunday, said spokeswoman Leslie Ridgeway. They had expected to assist at a clinic set up by the University of Miami at Port-au-Prince airport, but were told instead to travel to a field hospital run by the Israeli Defense Forces at the national soccer stadium, located on the southwest side of the city.

“Outstanding facility -- everyone being put to use,” wrote Ramon Cestero, a County-USC trauma and critical-care surgeon, in an e-mail. “Amputations, debridements [cleaning burns] common. Occasional gunshot injuries, as well. Will likely rejoin University of Miami team in one to two days at airport. Everyone doing well.” 

The field hospital has been treating about 500 patients a day and appears to be one of the only facilities in the country capable of performing surgeries, Ridgeway said.

Conditions on the island are still primitive for doctors, some of whom have been sleeping next to patients, she said. The Los Angeles team brought tents with them, as well as medical supplies, food and water.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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