Thursday, February 4

Update from Haiti

Charles Dubuque is carrying on his family’s legacy of helping the people of Haiti at a hospital his father founded.

Dubuque, vice president of Ronnoco Coffee Co. in St. Louis, traveled with a dozen local physicians and nurses last week to Hôpital Sacré Coeur in Milot.

Now, thanks to our new Men's Church Group President Joe Gunn, I am fortunate to get updates from Charles and his team.

I must share this one with you. It is so inspiring.


As of today we have over 400 patients in the hospital ( Hopital Sacre Coeur, Milot, Haiti) and family members are arriving from Port au Prince. We need to feed approximately 800 people a day. We have been able to accomplish this task thanks to the assistance of local groups and our ability to purchase food. In response to my previous email many people have made contact with international organizations to help get food. We have registered our need with the UN clusters for food and shelter, USAID, Southcom, the helicopter pilots, International Red Cross and every other contact suggested to us. The process for obtaining food is challenging but I'm sure thanks to all of our efforts it will start arriving soon.

The patients and their families are very appreciative of the wonderful care they are receiving. Aside from some isolated instances of frustration from hunger the atmosphere is peaceful. Blessed Mother Theresa's Missionaries of the Poor arrived today and will begin to take patients and their families that can be discharged. They have 3 acres of land to house them and are close enough that they can return for post op care.

With the arrival of a new team from South Bend, Indiana our total of medical volunteers hit 90 today! For those of you familiar with our housing compound you realize what a challenge this is. They are sleeping on mattresses on the floors, in the sisters convent, and in tents. They eat in shifts and no one complains. The kitchen staff works tirelessly to provide meals for the volunteers without complaints. It is a wonderful example of the Christian focus everyone has on caring for the poor victims.

There have been generous donations from around the country but there are 2 that I would like to share with you:

1. When we first started planning our response we were contacted by the CEO of Caritas Christi ( a large catholic network of 7 hospitals in New England) Ralph De la Torre MD who told us that they would support the hospital's efforts with medical volunteers and supplies. They quickly put together a team of 13 physicians and nurses and sent them to Haiti by private plane. They have provided additional teams each week for the past 3 weeks. When they heard we needed space to house the patients Ralph and Jim O'Connor, the treasurer of the American Association of Malta, tried to obtain a portable hospital from the US military. Despite contacting the Secretary of the Navy and the head of USAID they were unable to obtain one. Undeterred by this Ralph found the company that makes the tents for the portable hospital and discovered that they were a subsidiary of an equity firm whose principle Ralph knew. After a conference call the tents were purchased for over $300,000 which was a discount from the usual price of over $500,000 and were shipped to us in 1 week ahead of other orders that the company had. The tents are now full of patients.

2. After we arrived in Haiti we realized that we needed new equipment to care for the seriously ill patients we were receiving. After contacting Philips medical for help, their CEO Steve Rusckowski sent a plane load of equipment including monitors for the OR and ICU, ultrasound machines, and ventilators worth well over $500,000. In addition to leasing the plane to deliver this equipment he sent 2 employees to assemble the equipment and train the staff for a week. The ICU has been full ( 12 beds ) since the beginning and lives have been saved with the assistance of this equipment. The equipment allowed us to increase our ORs from 2 to 5 and they have all been busy 12 hours a day.

As we enter our 4th week after the earthquake it is amazing what we have accomplished. Thousands of people have contributed to our ability to provide care for the victims of this catastrophe and fulfill our Malta mission to care for the sick and poor. We know that we will need to recruit 50+ volunteers a week to continue to care for these patients and to start to provide rehabilitative services for at least 2 more months.

Please continue to keep the people of Haiti and our volunteers in your prayers. Peter Kelly

Charles T. Dubuque

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