Michigan healthcare workers set to go to Haiti

By Joe Rossiter
Detroit Free Press
January 17, 2010

Residents with ties to nation keep up online after quake

Kyle Martin has traveled to Haiti since he was 12 years old as part of local mission groups.

Now 26 and a second-year osteopathic medical student at Michigan State University, he has traveled to the impoverished Caribbean nation eight times in the past year to work at a medical clinic in Gressier, a town southwest of Port-au-Prince.

Through e-mails and Facebook, Martin said he learned that the clinic where he has worked was destroyed. Fortunately, he said, everyone made it out safely.

"As of now, they are tending to patients at a nearby soccer field," he told the Free Press. "They've set up blankets on the grass and are doing whatever they humanly can to dispense proper medical aid."

Michael Largey, an MSU music professor who specializes in Caribbean music, taught at a school in Port-au-Prince for several years during the 1980s and occasionally travels back to the country to visit.

Through his connections to Haiti, Largey, 50, said he learned about the destruction of the school where he once taught and predicts there will soon be an influx of Haitians fleeing to the U.S.

"The people there have lost everything," he said.

The parents of Dr. Sacha Montas, a member of the University of Michigan Health System's Survival Flight team, traveled to Haiti on vacation the same day the earthquake struck.

Both of his parents are OK, but Montas reported a cousin was killed, said Mary Masson, a U-M Health System senior writer.

Montas now plans to join the relief effort in Haiti -- and reunite there with his parents. He is among numerous American doctors and other medical personnel headed to the Caribbean nation.

The RN Response Network and National Nurses United, the largest union and professional organization of U.S. nurses, report that nearly 7,500 registered nurses are ready to deploy to Haiti, including 219 from Michigan.