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TEMPLE MED STUDENTS ANSWER THE CALL TO HELP THE PEOPLE OF HAITI
March 19, 2010
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Fourth-year medical student Ewere Osian comforts a young patient in a small town near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Price. Osian was part of a group of 30 health professionals who provided medical care in Haiti's countryside. Photo courtesy of Ewere Osian.
Ewere Osian knew she wanted to help the people of Haiti, she just wasn’t sure how. As a fourth-year medical student, she didn’t know if she could be effective in the wake of such destruction. Even if she could provide assistance, she wondered, how would she even get there?
Both questions were answered by fellow medical student Traci Williams-Riles, who learned of a volunteer opportunity through a friend at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and asked Osian if she’d like to participate.
Shortly after that, the two women left for Haiti, accompanying a group of about 30 other health professionals and spiritual counselors through Glory Unlimited Ministries, a faith-based organization.
For the next four days, the two students traveled the countryside, stopping in various small towns around the capital of Port-au-Prince to provide medical care. As the only medical students in the group, Williams-Riles and Osian triaged patients — finding out their symptoms and taking their vitals. In total, the team saw close to 800 patients in just four days.
Both women said they saw their share of injuries, illness and infection stemming from damage after the earthquake, but they began to realize that some of the patients were coming to them because their own doctor had been injured or died.
“This is another side of the coin in terms of medical outreach — the patients who are still in need of care but who don’t have a doctor anymore to provide it,” said Williams-Riles.
Both Williams-Riles and Osian said they were struck by the sheer graciousness of the Haitian people.
“We saw our fair share of damage, but we also saw so much good,” Osian said. “We saw God working through the people of Haiti.”
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