Concord doctor wants to continue to help Haiti

March 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The earthquake in Haiti has caused a lot of death and damage. The country is still in chaos.

A Bay Area doctor, who has just returned, is now trying to raise money to for desperately needed medical supplies.

If you hope to get a word in with Dr. Andreas Kamlot, it is best to put on your running shoes because this is a man who moves fast, and rarely stops.

"There are two modes: either full-speed or sleeping," said Kamlot.

He's a surgeon at John Muir Medical Center in Concord. A specialist in hearts, who lost his own -- figuratively -- to one of the world's most desperate regions.

"Haiti has nothing. Haiti never had anything," said Kamlot.

It only an ongoing abundance of tragedy, grief, and despair. When the quake hit, Kamlot felt compelled to make his way to Haiti and to help.

He found himself in a primitive hospital, 70 miles north of Port-au-Prince, performing emergency surgeries from dawn to well past dusk.

"We saw anything from heads to toes, unfortunately severely burned people who lost part of their face, upper bodies, arms, legs. It was the most devastating injuries and the most heartbreaking stories you can imagine," said Kamlot.

Since the earthquake, Kamlot, and others like him, have performed some 40,000 amputations. His goal is now is to fund a project that will give those patients artificial arms and legs. He's taking donations and making plans to return, next month.

"Since I left, I have felt like a surgeon who leaves the operating room in the middle of the operation. I feel I have done as much as I can, but I think a lot more needs to be done. So the next key step is to get these 40,000 amputees back on the street and to a reasonable life," said Kamlot.

Aside from his next surgery, Friday morning, it is all the doctor can think about. This is the difference between reading about Haiti and actually seeing it. It is about backing up good intentions with action.

"It's not enough. It's never enough. There's always something else to do. There's no goal. It's just getting there," said Kamlot.

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