Eye of the storm

Dr. Paul Duffy and his team from Calgary’s Foothills Hospital in Haiti

A Calgary orthopedic surgeon brings expertise and compassion to earthquake ravaged Haiti.

Dr. Paul Duffy put together a team from Calgary's Foothills Hospital to travel as part of Team Broken Earth, a Newfoundland-based non-profit.

We didn’t have beds for them, so you grapple with the ethics of ‘do I send you home immediately post op, or not do your surgery because we don’t have a bed for you?'

 PHOTOS

Have a look through some of the team's photos from their project in Haiti.

When a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, it decimated the country. Today, three years later, much of Haiti remains without access to basic medical care.

That reality prompted Calgary orthopedic surgeon Dr. Paul Duffy to join Team Broken Earth, a Newfoundland-based non-profit that brings medical teams into Haiti to perform life-changing and often life-saving procedures.

Duffy and his team from Calgary’s Foothills Hospital arrived in Haiti on January 15 and spent a week working in hospitals and tent cities helping desperate patients. Often, they had to make uncomfortable choices about who and how to help.

“On our last day, went to the main general hospital in Port-au-Prince and saw injuries that had gone untreated for months,” recalls Duffy. “We brought the worst of the worst over to our hospital, and operated. We didn’t have beds for them, so you grapple with the ethics of ‘do I send you home immediately post op, or not do your surgery because we don’t have a bed for you?’”

The experience gave the team new perspective on what they have here at home and created a sense of camaraderie – so much so that they plan to do it again next year.

Putting a team together is something Duffy hopes other Alberta hospitals will consider too. “I’d love to see one team go down, then hand it over to another team and so on. You’d be able to cover a month or two and make a really profound difference.”

More about Dr. Duffy's projects

The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.