Medical conditions

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

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.

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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