Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pre-Departure Message

For those who don't know me, I am a board certified general surgeon with additional fellowship training in colorectal and laparoscopic surgery. My extremely patient, understanding and wonderful wife Abby, three sons Meir, Noam and Yishai, and dog Wilson have been Florida residents for the last year and a half.

First of all let me just say thank you to everyone for their support. When I sent out a few emails to some family and friends on Thursday night, I had no idea that within 24 hours of making the decision to go to Haiti I would have close to $5,000 pledged to me from around the country. The details of the trip are still being formed, but I will tell you what I know now. On Monday at 7am, I and approximately 40 others ( a mix of physicians (2 general and trauma surgeons, 2OB-gyn, 1 ER, 1 orthopedic surgeon, 1 anesthesia, 3 Internal Medicine), nurses, EMT's, med students, and non health care volunteers with international relief experience based out of the Miami Rescue Mission) will embark from Miami to Port-Au-Prince on special chartered American Airlines flights run by the State Department.

Upon arrival, we will be going to one of two locations which is still being decided upon based on greatest need when we arrive Monday morning. This joint venture between Holy Cross Hospital and Miami Rescue Mission is just the beginning and there are plans to have continuous teams from Holy Cross for the next few months, with rotating personnel.

Early Saturday morning 1150 pounds of medical supplies including $5,000 of medicines were airlifted to Port-Au-Prince. These first supplies have been donated by the Holy Cross Hospital Medical Staff. When I told the medical staff president about the amazing outpouring of donations his response was, "great, this ones covered, you pay for the next one!". My original email was sent out before I realized the scope of the organization behind this trip and so I apologize and understand if people are upset that their pledges won't actually be going to the supplies in 'my' hands. However, I assure you that every penny raised will be used only for the purchases of medicines and supplies that will be directly airlifted to Haiti and used by our teams. Please email me if you no longer wish to give, no hard feelings.

I will write again before I leave. We will have one satellite phone to be in touch with our families but otherwise will likely be "off the grid" throughout the trip. If you would like to be kept informed of our work, please let me know and my wife Abby will send out updates. I look forward to a rewarding yet somber trip and I appreciate everything you have all done to try and help.

The mitzvah of P'kuach Nefesh, saving a life, is one that I take to heart, both as a Jew and a physician. After 10 years of training, I feel honored and humbled to be able to use my skills and knowledge to help those who are so desperately in need.

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