Member physicians answer the call.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Missions, Medical (Management)
Health care teams (Services)
Health care teams (Powers and duties)
Volunteerism (Management)
Volunteerism (Health aspects)
Author: Lanham, Angie
Pub Date: 03/01/2010
Publication: Name: West Virginia Medical Journal Publisher: West Virginia State Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 West Virginia State Medical Association ISSN: 0043-3284
Issue: Date: March-April, 2010 Source Volume: 106 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics; 360 Services information Computer Subject: Company business management
Geographic: Geographic Scope: West Virginia Geographic Code: 1U5WV West Virginia
Accession Number: 223908176
Full Text: It was the last Saturday before their departure to Fort Liberte, Haiti. Volunteers were busy removing medications from their original boxed packages into small, zip lock bags, each requiring a label. Packed suitcases lined the walls of the fellowship hall at the First Presbyterian Church of South Charleston. More suitcases awaited the tireless efforts of volunteers taking inventory of medications and medical supply bags. A scale is used to weigh each suitcase. Volunteers must adhere to a 50 pound weight limit: 40 pounds for medical supplies and 10 pounds for personal items. Every suitcase contains a variety of medications in small quantities to insure ample supplies in the event of lost luggage or delays upon arrival.

Dr. Richard Hayes and his wife Lora, RN, help coordinate groups of medical mission teams from this region for the Friends of Fort Liberte relief organization, a nonprofit group based in Elkins, WV. They have traveled with medical mission teams to Haiti since 2000.

The Friends of Fort Liberte was formed in 1975 by Architect J.D. King and Pastor Andre Jean. Since that time, a church, orphanage, school, and medical clinic have been built. Generators were purchased to provide electricity for lights, ceiling fans and pumps for a water system at the center.


This time, nine physicians, eight nurses, one pharmacist and two medical technicians form this trip's medical team. Several nonmedical support staff will undergird the group's efforts to bring relief to the people of Haiti. Team members volunteer their time and expertise, obtain the necessary vaccinations and pay their own traveling expenses.

The earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, has left over one million people homeless. More than 2,000 refugees from Port-au-Prince have traveled to Fort Liberte seeking medical care, food, water and shelter.

The team will treat victims for medical conditions ranging from anemia, TB, malnutrition and parasites. Infections from injuries sustained as a result of the earthquake, as well as post-op care for those who have been treated for injuries is expected to be high.

The West Virginia State Medical Association (WVSMA) is proud to have members of the Association give selflessly to those in need. The Fort Liberte team is one of many groups which include WVSMA member physicians including, Dr. Richard Hayes, Dr. Rafael Gomez, and Dr. Doug Carnutte. Others include orthopedic teams working in Milo, Haiti, through the CRUDEM Foundation, including Dr. William Sale, Dr. Ken Wright, and Dr. Richard Sibley. During the last CRUDEM team trip, approximately 400 patients were treated for various injuries requiring orthopedic specialists. Dr. David Fogarty led a group to Haiti in early February (see opposite page).


Another group of orthopedists led by Dr. Peter Lukowski will leave for Haiti in late March. There are many physician groups that hale from West Virginia, who have given or will give of their time and talents. The time-honored tradition of service marks West Virginians and its physicians as leaders of compassionate care in our state and the world over.

For more information about the Friends of Fort Liberte, contact Bonnie Woodrum at 304.636.3082 (home), 304.614.0903 (cell), or email:, or go to
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