Haitians arrive at PBIA

By Tara Cardoso - bio | email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The first military flight to the U.S., since operations were suspended, arrived Monday night at Palm Beach International Airport.

It was the first plane to arrive with Haitian patients in five days. Seventeen patients, including two children, and some military personnel were aboard; all with amazing stories of survival.

The 17 were dispersed to hospitals across South Florida concentrating in Broward and Palm Beach Counties to leave Miami Dade's hospitals free for the Super Bowl.

Two more patients will fly on to Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. All of them need immediate medical care, and these are the lucky ones to have access to it.

One orphan has a special story. Five-year-old Bazile was rescued from a remote village by the World Harvest Mission group from Lake Worth. The Florida doctor who helped her says she has the largest spleen and liver he has ever seen on a child, and no one in Haiti can figure out what's wrong with her.

She is not an earthquake victim, but the earthquake, he says, is finally cracking the door to let some of these children who need help.

Out of the country, we spoke to the doctor by phone as he just arrived back in Fort Myers from Haiti. "These children, in these mountains, if they are that sick, and you don't act. they will die. The mortality rate is 48 percent, so half of them will die -- most from simple starvation and terrible, terrible suffering," said  Dr. Steve Schroering. He will be headed back to Haiti on Wednesday.

Bazile will go to the Miami Children's Hospital. Now, as far as why the medical flights from Haiti had stopped, Governor Crist says he doesn't know. He says he never asked for the flights to stop. He just wanted help from the federal government to pay for the patient's care.

The government has agreed to reimburse Florida for the estimated $25 million it will spend on hundreds of patients.