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Mayo medical students head to Haiti

A group that included more than 30 Mayo Clinic Medical School students and volunteers left for the Dominican Republic early today.

They're heading for a hospital that has been performing as many as 50 surgeries a day for Haitians injured in the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The long-planned annual trip was arranged by the International Medical Alliance , and participants expect to stay until Feb. 21. Volunteer medical providers converge from around the globe each year, giving a year's supply to people who need medicine for conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.

"The team is already down in Haiti, and so we are joining that team," said Beth Creedon, a family nurse practitioner who has been organizing medical supplies for volunteers to take along. Creedon plans to stay in Rochester, but her husband, Dr. Doug Creedon, an obstetrics and gynecology specialist, and son Chris, a sophomore at Century High School , will both travel to the Dominican Republic.

They're heading for a hospital in a town there called Jimani, which is just over the border from Haiti.


In past years, medical students set up mobile clinics, serving Haitians who live at sugar plantations called batays. They'll do that again this year, said second-year Mayo Medical School student Caitlin Loprinzi, but they also expect to treat many people who need amputations due to infected injuries.

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the IMA volunteers found upwards of 400 people at the hospital's doorstep, many with traumatic injuries.

The IMA provides enough medicine for an entire year for people with chronic health conditions, Loprinzi said, so the organization's services are needed. Many of the donated medical supplies come from a distribution warehouse in Rochester that receives donations from Mayo Clinic.

Beth Creedon said the hospital has more than 200 volunteers on any given day, and the volunteers rotate in and out of the hospital, also providing services elsewhere locally.

Each student is taking along a 50-pound bag of medical supplies and medications to help local patients, she said.

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