Tifton Surgeon returns from Haiti - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tifton Surgeon returns from Haiti

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

TIFTON, GA (WALB) –A Tifton surgeon has returned from a trip to Haiti to help people injured in the earthquake.

Dr. Jim Scott says he worked shoulder to shoulder with medical professionals from around the world treating the thousands of victims.

There is no denying, these images are graphic,

"You don't realize until you get there and see it in the numbers," said Paula Spicer, Registered Nurse.

But nothing compares to experiencing the devastation in Haiti in real life.

"If you watch TV and see the devastation, and then the room gets to 100 degrees and then you smell the worst odor you ever smelled that gives you a feel of what you feel when you get there," said Dr. Jim Scott.

Dr. Jim Scott and his friend Paula Spicer decided to head for Haiti to help treat those in need.

"Local hospitals, pharmacies, individuals gave us 1,800 pounds of equipment to use from medicines to orthopedic equipment," said Scott.

But there were many challenges for the team,

"There were no sterile instruments to use we were just using what you had putting a little disinfectant on it," said Spicer.

And with limited equipment, they had to change some of their methods, turning to what they refer to as "battlefield medicine,"

"You wind up doing amputations where here you would be able to save it," said Scott.

"We saw a lot of folks in the triage area, casting and splinting where they stood..there wasn't a place to sit," said Spicer.

But they made due,

"You just had to do the best thing to save the patients life," said Spicer.

Even finding a little relief from the smell of decomposing bodies

"Vicks really works better you can get it our and put it on your lip and it does mask the odor,"

Both Scott and Spicer had been on trips like this before, but seeing the outpouring from people all over the world, made this one unforgettable.

"I was thrilled to see the United States army and other elements of our armed services there they were wonderful it does make you proud to be an American," said

"We met some great people from many different countries but overall I was proud to be an American with the response there and the people there," said Scott.

They hope to return soon.

There are about 9 million people who live in Haiti and several people get around by walking, so it will be very difficult for people to get around without a limb. So, if the team returns they say they will be changing their focus to helping the people with prosthetics.

Paula Spicer estimates they treated nearly 75 people in the week they were there.

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