As reported in the Herald today, a team of local doctors has arrived in the Dominican Republic, heading toward Haiti to help. They are led by Dr. Joseph Pecoraro, a Bradenton general surgeon and co-founder of Hearts Afire, a medical missionary organization. “We expect to do mostly amputations, treat traumatized wounds, deal with multiple fractures — we’ll do what we can,” he told me last night.
Joining him are anesthesiologists Trey Bernard, Tom Nutter and orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Sugar, all from Sarasota. They are carrying supplies donated by our local hospitals, knowing it will only make a small dent.
Dr. Pecoraro left an update this morning, calling from the missionaries' phone in Santo Domingo. The going sounds rough, even before they have reached any earthquake victims. The missionaries' van lost a wheel, so the doctors have found one to rent.
They are still heading toward Haiti, but may be needed long before they reach the makeshift hospital.
"The need is so great all the way along the Dominican border, we may or may not be able to get into Haiti," he said in a voice mail. "They're transporting patients out to the borders -- word is that the hospitals are full."
So many volunteers are heading to Haiti. Pecoraro's group met up with a missions outfitter from Gainesville today, which worked out well for them. "He will be assessing from an engineering standpoint, we're assessing from a medical standpoint," Pecoraro said.
He plans to keep us updated, as he is able.