Local News

Haitian burn victim reflects on year of survival

Posted January 12, 2011
Updated January 13, 2011

— One year after an earthquake devastate his home country, Eric Louis reflected on the tragedy that nearly cost him his life. 

Louis, a construction worker, was next to a gas station that exploded when the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. A third of his body had second- and third-degree burns, particularly his head, hands, back and toes.

"Today is really a day of sadness for me. This is the day for me, I was near death," Louis said Wednesday. He spoke with the help of a translator – a new friend and church pastor, who helped Louis and his wife start over in the Triangle.

After the gas station exploded, Louis' wife, Yvita, found him and carried him 10 miles through the rubble to a hospital, but there were no doctors there. She took him home and cared for him for four days until Dr. Chris Sawyer, part of a medical mission team from Knoxville, Tenn., arranged for him to be airlifted to the U.S.

Louis arrived at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill two weeks after the earthquake. He underwent six major surgeries, including four skin grafts.

Louis was released from the hospital in June. 

"I've still got some pains. It is not completely healed," Louis said. 

eric louis Haiti burn victim moves on in NC

"The only thing we have is some pains in our heart, but at the same time, I have some joy too because my husband is alive," Yvita Louis said. 

The couple now attend a Raleigh church, but hope to return to Haiti one day to be with their four children, who they have not seen since the earthquake. 

17 Comments

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  • Zoey0815 Jan 14, 1:51 p.m.

    I am appalled at some of the ignorant comments on here. The lack of sympathy and respect for human life is utterly shameful. Take a look at the history of Haiti and see some of the truly atrocious things our country has done that helped make Haiti the poverty stricken country that it is today.
    Furthermore, very few of us have any idea what these people have been through. Save the angry, heartless comments until you have been through this kind of horror.

  • ProudBlackSingleMother Jan 14, 11:09 a.m.

    Why are we paying for this guy to live here? We have been the world's welfare check for way too long.

    I blame the christians who should move to Haiti and stay there if they want to make a real difference rather than bringing over a pet to make their empty lives whole.

  • delilahk2000 Jan 13, 7:03 p.m.

    PASSPORT423, WHY DON'T YOU READ MY COMMENT AGAIN AND THEN MAKE A NON STUPID COMMENT. WE AS A COUNTRY CAN'T PAY FOR EVERYONE.

  • passport423 Jan 13, 4:55 p.m.

    delilah, who made you head of the 'death panel'.

  • delilahk2000 Jan 13, 4:26 p.m.

    NO DISRESPECT, BUT KNOW HE NEEDS TO GO BACK TO THEIR OWN COUNTRY.. I KNOW SEVERAL PEOPLE HERE THAT NEED MEDICAL CARE AND THEY ARE TURNED AWAY. PLAINLY TOLD NO INSURANCE, NO MONEY, NO CARE. WE NEED TO START TAKING CARE OF THE PEOPLE WHO FOOTS THE BILL FOR ALL THIS THAT NEED HELP TOO.

  • ur1friend Jan 13, 3:42 p.m.

    Not only the medical cost of care, but the air transport that got him here. Are the families of the thousands of children evacuated to US going to be allowed to come over also. Do you think if you were in this persons shape, any country including the US would give a ?

  • edgar709 Jan 13, 2:23 p.m.

    Here's a poem located @ a very special and sacred place in America.

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset- gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mothers of Exile. From her beacon hand
    Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

    "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" she cries With a silent lips, "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore; Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

    [November 2, 1883, Emma Lazarus 1849-1887)"

    Louis is before anything- a human being!

  • hotss Jan 13, 2:00 p.m.

    Smiling and Pat7.....People that think like you two will hopefully allow us to be able to do just that.That is,take care of our own taxpayers and then try to help the rest of the world.Days4 and Wakemom thinks money grows on trees.But their wholesome expressions of concerne and simpathy are heart warming.

  • hotss Jan 13, 1:48 p.m.

    wakemom....I'm not sure what you mean by YOU PEOPLE...but anyway,my post was not a comment it was a series of questions.Since you care so much for this man and his wife let them stay with you and you support them.

  • down2earth Jan 13, 1:31 p.m.

    While I understand the need to take care of home first, my heart & soul CRINGES at the comments made on this post about a human life that God created. I'm glad to see he is healing.

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