Dr. Dave Atkin is da man! He is the current president of Operation Rainbow, a
NGO that provides free medical and surgical care for children in the developing world.
Recently Dave lead Operation Rainbow over to help out in Haiti. Attached is a letter and images Dave sent out to summarize a little about his recent experiences. I am proud to have such a friend represent our country in such a generous manner. Thank you Dave and to all that have such motivation coupled with giving hearts. If you would like to help Dave and Operation Rainbow in some capacity please contact them through their website http://www.operationrainbow.org
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I can hardly believe that only 2 weeks has passed since I last wrote,
In truth, it feels like a lifetime to me.
Our initial introduction to the hospital in Jimani, on the Dominican
border of Haiti, could only be described as “hitting the ground
running” as our sixteen member team was quickly integrated into the
existing volunteers. Our lead anesthesiologist assessed that he was
most needed as the director of a makeshift intensive care unit, our
internist, a calm and thoughtful individual, became the medical
director, our pediatrician immediately went in search of the children
, and the operating room personnel set up our two donated autoclaves
(sterilizing units) for surgery. For my part, the outgoing orthopedic
team, who had done outstanding work, signed out a service of 250
patients, many severely injured, and 15 surgeries yet to be done that day.
My co-surgeon, Dr. Chris Comstock , a Stanford trained pediatric
orthopedist, immediately began operating on the children and I on the
adults. His first surgery was Katsana, a 10 year old girl, who had
languished for three weeks with a broken hip, and whose surgery was
made possible when an operative X-ray unit was delivered from the US
the day before we arrived. When she finally crutch-walked on the
wards, she challenged all the other children to do the same, and they
did. She showed us indomitable spirit and went on to be an inspiration
to us all. Her mom told us that since her daughter had been hurt she
had been praying
for angels to come , and now they had arrived; there wasn't a dry eye
in the house.
As we obtained X-rays on all the patients, we realized the magnitude
of the injuries; spine fractures and dislocations, unstable pelvic
fractures in pregnant women, and badly displaced femur fractures. We
were able to contact the USNS Comfort, and soon thereafter Blackhawk
helicopters arrived to bring these patients to modern facilities where
they could receive sophisticated and definitive treatment. Our medical
director helped prioritize those patients most in need and we all
helped evacuate them.
As the days passed, we developed more efficient systems for
identifying and treating the injuries. We delved into the social
histories of the patients to identify the children who had lost
parents and the parents who had lost children. Dr. Karen Makely, our
pediatrician, immunized the children and created a pediatric ward
where children could be together in a brighter, more cheerful setting.
Her endeavors were accurately chronicled by ABC, and can be viewed on
We were all impressed by the spirit and resilience of our Haitian
patients; we knew their names and many of their stories. We can still
hear the sound of their voices as they sing hymns in the evenings. For
us, as the week ended, we felt that we had not only become better
providers, but better people.
The need for orthopedic aid in Haiti will be enormous and we, the
members of Operation Rainbow, will be there. Thank you all for your
Please help us to continue helping those in Haiti.
Dave M. Atkin M.D.