Haitians' recovery hindered by lack of doctors, rehab facilities

The Miami HeraldFebruary 18, 2010 

In the turmoil that followed Haiti's earthquake, Eugette Thimo waited with a broken foot for five days in a hospital yard littered with the dead.

The delay to see a doctor eventually cost her an infection, four surgeries and half her right leg.

"When I leave here, I will go sleep on the streets, because I do not have anywhere to go," said Thimo, a 50-year-old former store clerk who is being treated at Love a Child Village, a makeshift clinic near the Dominican border run by Harvard University doctors. "When the international doctors leave here, I will die."

Thimo's grim outlook is shared by many international experts and fellow quake victims, who fear what the future holds for the tens of thousands of recovering patients dependent upon what one World Health Organization official calls "the worst health care system in the world."

An estimated 300,000 people were hurt in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that toppled Haiti's capital last month, and up to 4,000 lost limbs. Haitian health officials acknowledge that in the chaotic first weeks, doctors failed to show up for work and hospitals were overwhelmed.

The World Health Organization said that up to 1,000 physicians from around the world descended on Haiti in the weeks that followed. Doctors Without Borders set up an inflatable hospital that is five times bigger than any other field infirmary the organization ever built. The University of Miami's field hospital has already treated more than 2,000 people.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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