Bay Area doctors, nurses help the injured in Haiti

January 28, 2010 5:49:17 PM PST
A team of Bay Area surgeons and nurses is going to Haiti to help injured children. Not only are the doctors and nurses volunteering their time, but their children are also getting involved.

Dr. David Atkin from St. Luke's Hospital is finalizing the list of medical supplies he and his team of surgeons and nurses will take to help the young victims of the Haiti earthquake.

"We're going to be seeing infections, we are going to be seeing a lot of wound care problems," he said.

Atkin and Dr. Karen Makely work with Operation Rainbow. Their mission is to provide free reconstructive orthopedic surgery for kids overseas.

They are part of a 16-member all-volunteer team who will take medical supplies to the border town of Jimani, in the Dominican Republic for the surgeries.

"We'd be able to have electricity, an intact hospital, get things like intravenous fluids and that would allow us to do a very rapid triage and very rapid surgical care and high volume," Atkin said.

"The only way for someone who's just lost a limb to go back home, if there is a home to go to, is to be carried or make it on their own," Makely said.

Makely is a pediatrician and will help with the follow up care for patients. She says the amputated limbs will cause long term problems for the children and the adults. They desperately need crutches.

"When you've lost your family members to carry you, your only option is to get there on your own and giving them crutches gives a little piece of their humanity back," she said.

The children of the doctors of Operation Rainbow wanted to do something to help the children of Haiti, so they organized drives at five different schools and in three days raised 20 sets of crutches and bags of gauze and antibiotics.

Drop-off points for the crutches are the Sports Basement stores in the Presidio and on Bryant Street.

If you start a drive for Operation Rainbow, please contact Linda Zanides at so she can let you know where to take the donated medical supplies.