Stanford aid to Haitian hospital nears $350,000

- By Susan Ipaktchian

The Stanford community has raised nearly $350,000 that is being used to fund the operations of Haiti’s Hopital Albert Schweitzer, which is about 40 miles north of Port-au-Prince and withstood the Jan. 12 quake.

As of Feb. 5, Stanford faculty, staff and students had contributed $182,870 to a challenge grant fund. The School of Medicine and several of its departments, along with Stanford Hospital & Clinics and the leadership of Stanford University offered matching funds of $167,000, bringing the total raised thus far to $349,870.

While the matching portion of the grant has ended, Stanford community members can still contribute to the fund.

In an e-mail, Ian Rawson, MD, medical director for Hopital Albert Schweitzer, thanked the Stanford community for supporting the hospital’s efforts to care for patients and preserve the health of Haiti’s people.

“During the first phase of the disaster, we treated over 815 inpatients and an additional 200 whom we treated and released,” Rawson wrote. “During the first 10 days, all of the clinical care was provided by the permanent all-Haitian medical and nursing staff. Later, teams of surgeons, with nurses and anesthesiologists, arrived to support the exhausted staff.”

Rawson wrote that because of the earthquake, “Haiti will never be the same, and I am certain that HAS [the hospital] will not be either.”

Hopital Albert Schweitzer provides medical care and community health and development programs for more than 300,000 impoverished people in the Artibonite Valley of central Haiti.

Ralph Greco, MD, a Stanford professor of surgery, has taken residents to the Haitian hospital for the last 20 years in the hopes of giving them a broader view of the power of medicine.

“My hope is that they will learn that the world is a bigger place than a U.S. hospital can possibly convey, that poverty and disease are a way of life in many parts of the world, and that as physicians, we and our skills can make a big difference despite the absence of financial remuneration,” Greco wrote in an essay published in the Aug. 2, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. (The full text of Greco's essay is available to JAMA subscribers at http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/284/5/534)

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