published Monday, February 1st, 2010

Winchester couple helping quake victims sends dispatch

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    Contributed photo Dr. Roger Jurich, a Winchester, TN, physician was in Haiti when the first earthquake struck, and cared for some of the earliest victims of the quake in Port-Au-Prince. He will return to Haiti Monday to help with the relief efforts.

Dr. Roger Jurich, a Winchester, Tenn., physician and his wife Sheryl Jurich, a nurse, are in Haiti providing medical care earthquake victims. Dr. Jurich, hospitalist at Southern Tennessee Medical Center, was in Haiti during a medical mission with First United Methodist Church when the Jan. 12 earthquake struck. While there, he cared for some of the earliest victims of the quake in Port-au-Prince. Dr. Jurich returned to Haiti on Monday with a team of doctors and nurses to continue helping with the relief efforts. With only limited access to computers, Mrs. Jurich was able to send this dispatch about the situation around Port-Au-Prince and Ouanaminthe.

Early morning Thursday, she wrote:

“As I sit in the lobby of the school we use for a clinic, I can see the sunrise … a new day in Haiti. Today holds promise as we have an orthopaedic team arriving from Kentucky this weekend.

We had a busy day today, setting up for surgeries and doing some consults. The first patient we saw had an extreme wound infection of her right lower arm, as well as an untreated fracture.

The last patient we saw today, we walked to the government clinic. We examined a 20-year-old who had received a severe lower leg fracture in the quake. The Cuban doctor seeing him wanted to amputate his leg, but we encouraged him to wait until our orthopedic surgery team arrives. The principal of the high school we are associated with (Institution Univers) lost his 20-year- old daughter in the quake. Although he was at the school today, his daughter remains “entombed” under rubble in Port au Prince.”

Dr. Jurich joined his wife on Monday, along with two general surgeons, two orthopaedic surgeons, a dentist and a minister, all from the state of Kentucky, and a nurse from Winchester.

Dr. Steve Morris, a surgeon from Michigan, is on site with Sheryl Jurich in Haiti now as another advanced team member, performing surgeries daily. Although there is a government hospital in Ouanaminthe, there are no doctors, just nurses, and the town itself has swollen from a normal population of 100,000 to over 200,000 now, as refugees swarm into the area looking for medical help and assistance.

“I am trying to recruit a surgical nurse or technician for the week of Feb. 7th to Feb. 13th,” Dr. Jurich said. “Please help us get the word out.”

The daily drama of a poor country overcome by a natural disaster plays itself out in the clinic constantly.

Sheryl Jurich told of a little boy from Port-Au-Prince who came to see them late one night. “His injuries were minor, but his father had been killed. He was frantic.”

Contact the team by e-mailing aclark176@comcast.net.

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