Mount Sinai Teams Return to Haiti to Provide Critical Care to Earthquake Survivors

The Mount Sinai Medical Center has dispatched several teams of health care personnel to Haiti to support ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of the January earthquake.

New York, NY
 – May 27, 2010 /Press Release/  –– 

The Mount Sinai Medical Center has dispatched several teams of health care personnel to Haiti to support ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of the January earthquake. More than 20 Mount Sinai clinicians have returned to Haiti over the last few months, and still more are planning trips to provide critical care in the long-term aftermath of the disaster.

Project Medishare and the University of Miami Global Institute have established a critical care hospital on-site at Port-au-Prince International Airport, and Mount Sinai teams have joined them for a week at a time to care for the people of Haiti. In the aftermath of the earthquake, Haitians are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases such as typhoid, malaria, and meningitis and still require emergency treatment and ongoing wound care for traumatic injuries and burns.

"Immediately after the earthquake, the need was primarily for surgeons and emergency personnel. Today, Haitians are in need of all forms of health care services. We saw partnering with Medishare as a way to make a difference for this population while furthering Mount Sinai’s passion for performing service," said Jonathan Ripp, MD, Director, Mount Sinai Global Health Center, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Anu Anandaraja Wagner, MD, MPH, Director, Mount Sinai Global Health Center, who led a recent pediatric mission to Haiti, added, "Haiti’s health care infrastructure has been destroyed, and it still desperately needs physicians and staff to care for patients dealing with new and ongoing health concerns. Medishare’s work in Haiti and the commitment of personnel from institutions like Mount Sinai are even more critical now."

Multiple teams of Mount Sinai medical personnel from the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics and Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine and the Global Health Center have already traveled to Haiti to help Project Medishare and other relief organizations, with the pediatric group recently returning on May 16th and subsequent groups plan to travel through June. A total of 29 staff members, including pediatric, emergency medicine and internal medicine physicians, registered nurses, and respiratory therapists have been deployed to work with Medishare over the last three months. The critical care hospital where they have worked includes neonatal, pediatric and adult intensive care units, general medicine and pediatric wards, surgical and orthopedic services, emergency medicine and outpatient clinics.

"Mount Sinai’s commitment to care has always expanded beyond the hospital’s walls and our local community to include a global perspective," said Paul Klotman, MD, Professor and Chair of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Our ongoing work in Haiti demonstrates the remarkable dedication of our faculty, staff and trainees to answer the call to serve wherever and whenever they can."

Demonstrating its strong commitment to humanitarian aid, The Mount Sinai Medical Center led a team of nearly 30 medical staff that went to Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the quake to help survivors. Ernest Benjamin, MD, Chief of the Division of Critical Care in the Department of Surgery and Director of the Surgical ICU, arrived in Haiti immediately following the earthquake. A second group of medical personnel arrived on January 20. The Mount Sinai Medical Center-led team was one of the largest international teams at National Hospital in Port-au-Prince, leading the charge for New York City hospitals. The Mount Sinai-led team performed nearly 100 surgeries, and set up facilities including five operating rooms, an ICU, and a recovery ward.

Cameron R. Hernandez, MD, Assistant Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine and Medicine noted, "Each doctor consistently needed to be the advocate for their patient and make sure that they were getting what they needed. By the end of our week I started to grasp the magnitude of what we had just seen and I had felt like I made a difference. I would not trade this experience in for anything."

To learn more about Mount Sinai’s efforts in Haiti, visit  http://www.youtube.com/mountsinainy to view “Mount Sinai Brought Mountain of Hope to Haiti.”

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center 

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of few medical schools embedded in a hospital in the United States. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 15 institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institute of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. The school received the 2009 Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of American Medical Colleges. 

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital among the nation’s top 20 hospitals based on reputation, patient safety, and other patient-care factors. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 530,000 outpatient visits took place. 

For more information, visit www.mountsinai.org.