Nacogdoches doctor says Haiti needs nurses now

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) –  A Nacogdoches surgeon returned from Haiti Saturday. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael McLean and his medical team are going back soon. Only this time, he hopes with a team of nurses.

Time is running out. "People are dying now," said McLean. "There's people dying everyday there and we can save them if we can get some nurses down there to this particular place."

McLean showed us photographs of a little girl's ankle wrapped in a cast and a one-month-old baby with a crushed hand. With only one nurse and more than 300 patients, he says it's a big problem.

"The number 300 is an evolving number so as people are able to get up on crutches and as more crutches arrive and people are able to use them and leave more people come," he said.

McLean and seven other U.S. surgeons performed 70 operations in 48 hours. The difficult part was deciding who received medical attention.

"The suffering was so great that it was hard to walk around and just pick-out somebody to help when you know everybody needs help," he said. "That's what was hard."

Some were left behind. He showed us a photograph of a coffin. "They didn't argue," McLean said. "They didn't complain. They accepted it. But it was still hard to tell them."

Even after having to say no to so many sick, dying people, he says their spirits were still alive. "Singing and rejoicing despite of their situation and it happened everyday and it was pretty amazing."

McLean fears if nurses don't arrive soon, the ones operated on will never heal and soon disease will run rampant.

"The next phase is going to be disease," he said. "With all these people in close contact and poor hygiene in Haiti it's going to be a problem with infectious disease."

McLean is urging all nurses, even those in medical school to help in Haiti. If you are interested in going, call McLean's office at 936-560-2990.

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