Southland doctor performs surgery on Haiti quake survivor aboard aircraft carrier

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Among Southern California doctors and nurses taking part in Haitian quake relief efforts today is Dr. Henri Ford. As chief of surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Ford helped Dr. Demetrios Demetriades organize a team of 10 trauma specialists from the Keck School of Medicine at USC. The team has been treating quake victims at a field hospital in Port-au-Prince’s national soccer stadium.

But Ford was not with them this afternoon. Instead, the Haiti native was operating on injured children with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, docked off the Haitian coast. He sent this dispatch to colleagues:


“I med-evaced a six-year-old boy who had a pelvic fracture and a ruptured bladder after a brick wall fell on his lower abdomen. I escorted him to the ship by helicopter and performed a laparotomy (abdominal surgery). While on the ship, the Chief Medical Officer asked me to stay to help with a young girl with penetrating head trauma. A roof collapsed on her and a piece of brick was embedded in her skull with extension to the brain. Last night, we removed most of the brick. However we had another piece that I could not easily reach without doing a partial craniectomy. I closed and the ship’s general surgeon called Sanjay Gupta who came out to the ship this morning and removed a piece of skull. After the operation, the helicopter took us back to the embassy. I’m about to rejoin my team after 24 hours on the Vinson.”

The team had flown into Port-au-Prince yesterday from Fort Lauderdale on a private jet provided by Project Medishare Haiti and the University of Miami’s Global Institute for Community Health and Development, a spokeswoman said.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

chief surgeon at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, originally from Haiti; Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN medical correspondent and practicing neurosurgeon; and Lt. Cmdr. Kathryn Berndt, Navy surgeon, work on a 12-year-old Haitian girl with a severe head injury aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. Surgeons removed a piece of brick from the girl’s brain. Credit: U.S. Navy