Kearsarge Begins Medical Care in Haiti

USS Kearsarge

USS Kearsarge

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U.S. and Canadian medical augmentees currently embarked aboard USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) returned to Marose, Haiti Sept. 20 to provide medical care to locals as part of relief efforts in an area that has been devastated by recent hurricanes and tropical storms.

Medical personnel provided treatment to more than 80 patients and issued over 100 prescriptions within four hours. But perhaps even more important, the team brought a large supply of high-nutrition meals to supplement the town’s food supply until hurricane damaged roads can be repaired.

“We came to the sight a few days ago to assess their situation and found that they had fairly good nutrition, but were on the brink of running out of food,” said Cmdr. Nathan Uebelhoer, medical augmentee embarked aboard Kearsarge. “Our main mission today is to bring them food and also attend to some of their acute health issues.”

Thousands of high-nutrition meals from Project Handclasp were given to the villagers to help with their nutritional needs. Established by the Navy in 1972, Project Handclasp’s mission is to collect and make distribution of humanitarian, educational and goodwill materials.

“I am glad to be here helping the people of Haiti,” said Canadian Air Force Capt. Jolene Cook, medical augmentee embarked aboard Kearsarge. “As a doctor, I hope to treat as many people as I possibly can, but I will be happy to help these people out in any way possible.”

The medical team treated from minor aches and pains to rashes, diarrhea, and pneumonia.

“There are a lot of small wounds on these individuals that have occurred within the last few weeks that have not had any treatment,” said Uebelhoer. “We are here for any acute issues we may see. We have the ability to do minor surgical procedures, but we are here to try to see as many of the critical patients as possible.”

To date, helicopters and landing craft embarked aboard Kearsarge have delivered more than 1,200 metric tons of relief supplies, including 26,000 gallons of water to devastated communities isolated by damaged roads and bridges.

The areas needing the most immediate assistance have been prioritized by U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

Medical teams from Kearsarge, including personnel from the United States Public Health Service, will continue to work with other non-governmental agencies working in the country, such as Project Hope, the Center for Disease Control, Doctors Without Borders and the Pan American Health Organization, to plan what services to provide after the initial assessments.

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