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Medical conditions

Miami doctors return to U.S. after amputating Haiti earthquake victims' limbs

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Late Tuesday afternoon, four orthopedic surgeons from the University of Miami stood outside a Vision Airlines plane on the runway in Port-au-Prince waiting to board. After four days in the capital working in a facility at the United Nations compound, they were headed home. In that time, they amputated legs, arms and fingers of Haitians -- many of them children -- whose injuries had become infected with gangrene. Some had flies and maggots in their wounds. Others were treated for bad fractures.

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Veronica Diaz, one of the surgeons, said she performed 24 operations -- 13 amputations -- in the past two days, and she showed pictures of a child who lost his fingers. Another photo showed her cutting off a man's severely infected leg.

"In the U.S. we could save their limbs, but here you can't," said Zak Mahmood, another surgeon.

-- Dana Hedgpeth


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