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Network medical reporters serve as doctors in Haiti

January 19, 2010 |  6:33 am

Some of the most dramatic television images beamed from Haiti's quake-ravaged communities have shown harried doctors frantically tending the wounded with rudimentary tools.

"To say it's primitive is an understatement," CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said Saturday on "The Early Show." "This is analogous to Civil War medicine."

Ashton would know. As she spoke, the network aired footage of her in scrubs and a face mask, assisting in the nighttime surgery of a 15-year-old girl in shock from a hasty amputation.

Confronted with the overwhelming need in Haiti, medical doctors who serve as network correspondents have been toggling between roles: that of physician and reporter. On Sunday, ABC’s Dr. Richard Besser assisted a pregnant woman in labor and NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman operated on the wounded in a makeshift clinic. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta performed surgery Monday on a girl with a skull fracture who had been airlifted to the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson.

Read the rest of the story here.

-- Matea Gold in New York