Albany Doctor en route to treat Haitian quake victims - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany Doctor en route to treat Haitian quake victims

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – An Albany Doctor is on her way to the Haitian border. She plans to spend the next week treating refugees who are fleeing into the Dominican Republic in need of medical treatment.

She's part of a team of paramedics, nurses and physicians from across the US. They expect to see up to 2,000 patients each day of their trip.

Dr. Mana Kasongo was planning to go on vacation this week. She's traveling to the Caribbean, but not for vacation. Rather, she's going to the Dominican Republic to treat those injured in last week's earthquake.

Dr. Mana Kasongo moves room to room in the Phoebe Putney emergency center. This week she was planning to take a break, but when she saw the devastation in Haiti, she couldn't picture herself lounging on a beach.

She said, "This is a time of crisis and when you see people who are suffering by the thousands, millions at this point, and you have the capacity to help, you should do the most that you can."

That's why Monday afternoon, she got on a plane en route to the Dominican Republic, where she'll work in hospitals along the Haitian border.

Dr. Kasongo said, "There is a sense of urgency, too. I feel like we've got to do this and we have to do this now, because you can only wait so long before things get, I mean, they are dire now, but they could actually get a lot worse and they probably will before they get better and I want to play a part and I want to be a part of a group that is really doing that."

Dr. Joel Holcombe has traveled to Haiti on a medical mission before. He says the team preparing to go will certainly be overwhelmed when they arrive to an already under served country that has little food and water and inadequate medical care.  He said, "The likelihood that they will see 1,000 to 2,000 patients come at them everyday is extremely high."

People looking for a glimmer of hope in a time of tragedy.  Holcombe said, "Now, they have nothing, they really have nothing at all."

And that's why Dr. Kasongo is going. To give what she can to people in need. She said, "I'm feeling quite humbled, to be honest. I'm feeling honored that I have the ability to actually use the skills that I have in order to really help people who are in dire need and otherwise wouldn't get the help."

So she's taking her vacation money and putting it in the flight to the Dominican Republic and to buy the most basic medical supplies to assist in treating patients.

Dr. Kasongo is part of an 11 person team. They will arrive in the Dominican Republic Tuesday and plan to stay through Sunday. The group is a medical mission team going on behalf of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod World Relief and Human Care.

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