Four Haitian burn patients fly to RDU for treatment in N.C.

Posted January 26, 2010

— Four burn patients from Haiti flew to Raleigh-Durham International Airport Tuesday morning so they can receive treatment in North Carolina, according to state Division of Emergency Management officials.

A child was also on the plane to accompany a parent, spokeswoman Julia Jarema said in a statement. A spouse of another patient also traveled with the group.

"Late yesterday, North Carolina got a request to receive an overflow of burn patients that could not be accommodated in Florida," Jarema said. "At this time, we know of no other groups from Haiti that will be sent to North Carolina."

Four Haitian patients flying to Raleigh for treatment Haitian burn patients transported to N.C.

Several ambulances arrived at the airport to pick up a woman, 54, and three men – ages 24, 29 and 61 – whose plane landed at 9:15 a.m.

“They were burn patients, but they had obviously received significant medical care because they were dressed and everything – ready for transport," said Jonathan Olson of Wake County EMS.

Olson said the patients, who were wrapped in wool blankets, looked tired, but their "eyes were wide open."

They were moved quickly into heated ambulances

"I think they were ready, once they realized it was cold here, to get inside where it was warm,” he said.

One man was going to Wake Forest Baptist Burn Center, and the other patients were taken to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

"The burn centers have agreements of where to distribute patients," said Jeffrey Hammerstein, district chief of Wake County EMS. "Arrangements have been made with other burn centers to distribute those folks so that everybody can get the proper care."

The three patients brought to Jaycee Burn Center have severe burns and will require a number of treatments, including surgery, the center's director Dr. Bruce Cairns said during a press conference Tuesday.

One person was burned when a gas station exploded and his car caught  fire during the earthquake, Cairns said. The man's wife carried him 10 miles for treatment.

Cairns said another patient was workingwith chemicals when a vat spilled. The third patient suffered a burn from a grease fire.

The patients have gotten good care, but need additional work, Cairns said.

"These injuries clearly have not been treated the way we would take care of them and they have not received the pain medication that we would normally be able to provide here," he said.

The patients have burns ranging from 10 to 35 percent of their bodies.

"They involve all the areas of the body. Some of them are severe hand burns. Some of them involve the face and the scalp and the back and the feet, as well as the rest of the body," Cairns said.

Dr. Samuel Jones, of the Jaycee Burn Center, said the patients have an excellent prognosis. "Once we get the burn off and get the skin graft done, they should be able to return to full function," he said.

The patients speak French and Creole, so the center has brought in interpreters to help doctors communicate with them.

Officials said the patients are worried about their families back home.

"They are happy, but they are fearful as well. We made arrangements for them to call back to their home as a little comfort measure," said Grace Schmits, nurse manager at the Jaycee Burn Center.

Patients and their family members arrived in the same clothing they were wearing when the earthquake struck, Cairns said. The hospital has been providing them with food and clothing.

"These patients have been through a terrible ordeal, as have their families, but what's remarkable is that their hearts, minds and souls are back to their loved ones and their country," he said.

Cost associated with caring for these patients are being managed in accordance with federal and state Refugee Assistance programs, said Dalton Sawyer, of UNC Health Care. "We are working very closely with public and private partners to address these costs," he said.

No additional Haitian patients were expected to arrive in North Carolina on Tuesday, UNC Hospital officials said.


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  • strawberrysw4 Jan 27, 2010

    JennyT: I'm not sure where you can actually donate supplies. From what I've read, most agencies are requesting money.

    My uncle is head of The Master's Mission in SC and they've been told by missionaries in Haiti that one of the biggest needs they have is for large tents (they are very very expensive)and they're taking donations to buy tents to send. Their website is http://www.themastersmission.net/.

    I'd recommend just calling the American Red Cross, they should be able to tell you if you can donate basic supplies and where you can drop them off.

  • JennyT Jan 27, 2010

    Subject change - does anyone know if they need donations of food/clothing/basics? I'd like to help out. I get so sad looking at the photos and seeing the desperate situation the Haitians are in...

  • strawberrysw4 Jan 27, 2010

    SWEET-N-SOUR: What a childish comment.

    Taxpayers (I am one of them) don't make me sick. People that use excuses about why we shouldn't help the unfourtunate people in Haiti make me sick. I understand if you can't afford to financially help the Haitians (I hope you have financially helped your son if he is in such a bad spot.)But, you shouldn't say others shouldn't that they need to help here first.

    I would also assume that our taxes aren't paying for these burn victims, other than the money that Obama gave to the main fund originally, I THINK it was $100 million.

    If there are 300 million people in the US, that is only like 33 cent each. That is such a minimal amount. Sure, the US is in debt, but I for one think that giving money and help to these people is the right thing to do.

    Compairing how your son can't afford insurance to fix him leg pain to people who have lost everything, have almost burned to death and have suffered like these people have make me sick.

  • SWEET-N-SOUR Jan 26, 2010

    Hey strawbery2w4:

    Since people (tax)payers make you sick maybe you should go see a doctor...hope you have insurance. You have wasted enough of my time.

  • bozoclown3118 Jan 26, 2010

    Does this come out of the state budget or the federal government budget? Since They had to ask North Carolina for permission I guess it comes out of the state budget.

  • backwards Jan 26, 2010

    I believe we need to help out Haiti but it makes me sick to hear that the people of Haiti are upset because THEY don't think they're getting supplies quick enough, give me a brake, just be grateful we're helping. And for people that say this is the greatest country in the world, think again. This country hasn't been great for a long time. This country is falling apart as I said it would years ago. All this country thinks about is money money money and continues to spend money that it doesn't even come close to having. Pay back the countries that this "GREAT" country has borrowed the millions and billions of dollars from first or maybe they can just keep printing more and more money to make the value of our currency even worse. THe last thing is the people of this country are getting much larger and lazier than they ever have been and most people just want a handout instead of EARNING a hard days pay.

  • Adelinthe Jan 26, 2010

    scientistjo - "How quickly we forget Katrina. We needed international aid for that."

    Over 50 countries pledged aid following Katrina.

    The list is here...


    Much of that aid went untapped by the US government for reasons that can't be fathomed,


    And the some of the funds that were tapped, were inappropriately used according to news sources.


    God bless.


  • strawberrysw4 Jan 26, 2010

    SWEET-N-SOUR: You seriously can't compare the people in Haiti, and their burn victims to your son. People like you make me sick.

    As far as when my plane leaves, I've given financially already and plan to give more. I can't just leave my job for awhile and go there to help, but I will gladly help the other ways I can.

    Let me guess, you won't donate the first penny to Haiti because people in the US "need it more"?

  • Adelinthe Jan 26, 2010


    I am sorry for what happened to your son. Let me make this perfectly clear: THIS SHOULD NEVER OCCUR IN WHAT IS SUPPOSE TO BE THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD...NEVER, EVER!!!

    Let me say this too, nothing is perfect, but when it comes to picking a country in the world to live, I'll take the US every time.

    And nothing that happens here should ever make us so bitter, so hard hearted, that we turn away from other who are in need, for when we do that, our heart becomes shriveled and our spirit is more stunted than theirs is.

    God bless.


  • Adelinthe Jan 26, 2010

    Suasponte and offconstantly -

    I've not only made my donations, I tithed to our ministry as well. And if they needed a place to stay, my doors would be open to them and to their children.

    Paying taxes is not what makes one a good citizen or a good human being. Caring about others as well is what does that.

    And I have no doubt their being here won't deprive you of one morsel of food from your mouth because you'll see you get yours first.

    "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

    "Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." Matthew 25:45

    Praying for all those in need, physically and spiritually.

    God bless.