Earthquake in Haiti 9 – Helping in Haiti 1 Patrick Tomeny – A Personal Reflection 1

 

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When the disaster happened, my heart immediately went out to the people of Haiti. I wanted to go down and somehow help them, but I felt that it would be nearly impossible to set up such a trip. Classes at the University of South Florida, where I am majoring in biomedical sciences, had just begun. I had also recently started a job as an emergency room technician (after going to EMT school over the summer and receiving my license), and I wasn’t sure if my boss would let me take off work. But after receiving a call from my sister who encouraged me to at least find out if I would be able to go, I decided to give it a try. I made phone calls to my parents, friends, academic advisor, spiritual advisor, boss, and Fr. Scott Binet, MD,MI. Much to my surprise, everything worked out perfectly. Fr. Scott was more than happy to take me under his wing, my parents and friends supported me 100%, my boss let me take off as much work as I needed, and I could drop my classes at USF and take the semester off without any penalties or loss of scholarship.

Working at the Provisional Office for the Project

I have now been in Haiti for a few days, and I am truly experiencing culture shock as I see how poor these people live. I have been to third-world countries before, such as Bosnia, but all those experiences pale in comparison to this.

One of the first things Fr. Scott had me do was to go out into the poor communities on the ambulance (nothing more than a small truck with a stretcher) and find sick and injured patients. On my first run we went to an extremely poor area where everybody was living in make-shift tents. As a young man led me to where there was an injured girl, the people crowded around me as if I were a celebrity. And on the way a little boy, no older than four, gave me a hug and held my hand as we walked. It was touching, to say the least. The girl that was injured appeared to have a fractured pelvis, so we loaded her on the ambulance. I then treated a few people with minor cuts and abrasions, cleaning their wounds as best I could and covering them with fresh dressings.

Starting an IV on an unconscious earthquake victim

It’s amazing how simple things such as antibiotic ointment and band-aids, which we take for granted back home, are something these people have no access to. This increases the possibility of infection.

Deacon Verna, MI Speaks to Patient in Creole for Medical and Surgical Team

After loading a few more patients with potential fractures onto the ambulance, we headed back to the hospital. The hardest part about the ambulance run was trying to find out what was wrong with the people, because I had no translator. But at least by knowing the Creole word for pain, I was able to determine where the patients had pain and what provoked it.

Welcome to helping people in Haiti! Stay tuned.

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7 thoughts on “Earthquake in Haiti 9 – Helping in Haiti 1 Patrick Tomeny – A Personal Reflection 1

  1. Great work! Best wishes to you and Fr. Scott.

  2. thanks for taking the time to write. you are learning so much. God Bless.

  3. Good work, Patrick! For sure the Lord will bless you abundantly. Thanks for your courage and enthusiasm – it could help encourage more young men and women.

  4. Keep it up, stay safe. Keep us posted we know God will help you.
    Pax,
    Gustavo

  5. Patrick, thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. I am glad that you are safe, in good company, and that you are happy to be doing doing the Lord’s work.
    And by the way, what type of candy did Nathalie pack for you? Did the Haitian children like it?
    Keeping you all in my prayers,
    Susan and Family in CA

  6. Patrick, you are great to help fr.Scott. I am a close friend of him and appreciate your dedication..I was 7 years in Medjugorje and maybe we have met before…God bless you and be courageous this is a life experience you will never regret…sr.Claire marie -Roma

  7. Patrick, God bless you for your loving kindness. Your gift of serving will be felt for a long time. I’m 54 years old and have questioned how I could help in Haiti. Being an unemployed trucker, I have no real technical skills, any sugestion would be appreciated. Kind Regard’s

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