Jan 25, 2010 8:30 PM by Andy Koen

Pueblo nurse returns from rescue work in Haiti

He was among the first medical volunteers on the ground, and today a Pueblo nurse is back home and getting some much deserved rest. Eric Miller works in the intensive care unit at Saint Mary Corwin Hospital.

He is one of several volunteers the hospital has sent to join the relief efforts in Haiti.

"Ours was a rag-tag free lance group that was put together by a friend of mine in Florida," Miller said, describing the dozen or so doctors firefighters and paramedic on his team.

They were one of the first three groups of American rescuers to reach Haiti, a scene Miller described as "absolute chaos."

Miller serves with the Colorado Air National Guard and has been a member of search and rescue teams in Colorado. He had made trips to Haiti in the past with Doctor James Smith and the hospital's "Health for Haiti" mission.

The infrastructure in Haiti was substandard even before the earthquake and Miller says the lack of roads and hospitals made rescuing survivors all the more difficult.

"You were really going into an area that on their best day is barely prepared to take care of emergencies and issues and then you destroy anything that was left of that."

But despite the devastation, Miller says the compassion and cooperation he saw made the biggest impression on him.

He choked up as he recalled a story of a young baby he'd rescued who lost both of his parents in the quake.

"People there are used to nothing, which, not that it makes this easier, but they really help each other out," Miller said.

"And there was this family helping this little baby and I just said thank you."

Doctor Smith has been in Port-Au-Prince for a little over a week. When we last spoke to him he said he was operating on about 50 patients a day. He's expected to return home towards the end of this month.

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