Jan 13, 2010 6:59 PM by David Ortiviz

Pueblo surgeon will lend aide in Haiti

A surgeon from Pueblo is headed to Haiti this weekend. He was already scheduled to be there next week but, in the wake of the deadly earthquake he's ready to lend his services to the relief effort.

"I think Port au Prince is going to be unrecognizable," said Dr. James Smith, general surgeon at Colorado Surgery for Life. Smith has seen the horrifying destruction in Haiti on TV. "Probably the (people) are all under debris," said Dr. Smith. Dr. Smith is a Pueblo surgeon who's volunteered in Haiti for years. The grim reality is sinking in. "I couldn't believe it. This country it gets wiped out by huge hurricanes twice is the past eight years that I've been going down there. Now this is even a bigger disaster of an earthquake," said Dr. Smith.

Coincidentally, Dr. Smith was scheduled to fly to Haiti on Saturday to Gonaives, a town 80-miles north of Port au Prince. He was supposed to perform free surgeries like he does every year, but now his mission may change. "If there's nothing for me to do up in Gonaives, I'll probably stay in Port au Prince and help there," said Dr. Smith.

His bags and medical supplies are packed, now he anxiously waits for updates on the death toll and injuries. He's especially worried about a good friend and colleague.
"I can't get through to see if he even made it through or not," said Smith. But he holds out hope knowing soon, he'll be at the center of this disaster ready to help save lives.

More than a dozen other surgeons and medical professionals from Pueblo, may join Dr. Smith in the coming week as part of their annual relief mission. Dr. Smith is accepting donations through his organization, Health for Haiti.  You can also donate to your local Red Cross.


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