Stanford Doctors Return From Haiti's "Apocalypse"

Emergency doctors and nurses spent two weeks in Port-au-Prince

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Stanford Emergency Medicine
    Photos from a team of Stanford medical workers volunteering in Haiti.

    A team of four doctors and four nurses from Stanford's Emergency Medicine Division returned to the Bay Area after spending two weeks in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's earthquake-ravaged capital.

    "We came into a scene that was pretty much straight out of the apocalypse," said Dr. Paul Auerbach, a professor of surgery on the team. "We came to a city where people were swarming over walls. We heard gunshots. It was totally beyond what i expected or could prepare for."

    Prepared or not, the emergency-room doctors and nurses went in and got to work.

    "We faced approximately 800 critically ill or injured people, amputations, infected wounds, a lot of death and dying," said Auerbach.

    "When we got there, things were very rough, there were very few doctors, very few supplies," said Ian Brown, another doctor on the team.

    Auerbach said his team brought most of the basic supplies with them, and managed despite a shortage of pain medication -- working 14 straight days and often skipping meals and sleep.

    "The last day, I finished my responsibilities and said, 'You know, I just don't feel too good,' and then i got 9 liters of IV fluids so I could get up to go to the UN plane," said Auerbach. "But everybody was like that."

    The Haitians' gratitude kept up their spirts and formed lasting memories.

    "I went up to a child that had one hand left and he was eating a cracker and he handed it up to me to eat," said Auerbach. "I talked to a woman who had been a professional ballet dancer. I saw her every day and I told her she would dance better on one leg than i would ever dance on two legs. We all have stories like that."

    And while are grateful to get back to their lives at home, they know that the work in Haiti is far from over.

    "Clearing the rubble, healing the wounds, finding houses for the displaced people -- Haiti was a troubled state to start with and now this horrible natural disaster happened," said Brown. "I wish them good luck. I wish them god speed. They're gonna need it."

    Click on the photo gallery for pictures from Haiti.