News: 22nd MEU Corpsmen bring smiles to Haiti
Story by Cpl. Alan Addison
DANO, HAITI -- While the humanitarian aid and disaster relief efforts for the people of Haiti brought much needed supplies to Haitian residents, some earthquake victims are still in need of more than just food and water supplies.
Corpsmen from Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, treated injured and sick residents of Dano, Haiti, Jan. 28.
After a reconnaissance team established a treatment location and all the medical equipment was prepared, corpsmen donned latex gloves and started their mission.
Although the seriously injured are already evacuated, residents began to form long lines in order to receive attention from the staff.
As the mission began, patients were placed in lines based on the severity of their injuries, after which each got the opportunity to sit down with a corpsman and discuss their ailment. Once each person was assessed, they received medicine along with instructions on when to take it. Corpsmen examined more than 60 patients, whose injuries ranged from serious infections to basic headaches.
"Our mission is to come in and render medical support, not only in terms of patient care, but also medical supplies," said Navy Lt. Matt Swartz, surgeon for the BLT.
"This is one of those things I'm thankful I got the chance to do, we get to help people out with their basic needs. Some people just need a laugh and that's what we're here for, to help out," said Petty Officer 1st Class Simba Wallace, a hospitalman and leading petty officer for the BLT.
This mission for the corpsmen differed slightly from others because of the surrounding environment. Instead of operating in a small town, the corpsmen found themselves at the top of a small mountain in the midst of three small homes.
"These are the places that seem to get forgotten," said Wallace. "As you can see, there are three homes and we've treated more than 60 people, this is what I like and I'm glad they found a remote location to give these people some aid."
Some of the more junior corpsmen also got the opportunity to come out and lend a hand in the mission.
"It feels really good to be out here. This is my first time being out and deployed, so it feels good to actually get out and help," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Neil Goldstein, a hospitalman and a BLT corpsman. "Seeing the smiles of the people gives you a feeling that's hard to express."
One by one, people trickled in and out of the treatment area in front of the middle home, after receiving whatever care they needed. As patients began to exit the triage location, so did the supplies.
"We brought what we thought we would need and now we're running low, but our guys are doing the best service to the people as they can," said Wallace. "I'm sad that we can't stay and I didn't have an enormous amount of meds, but I think the people we helped appreciated what we've done."
As the day drew to an end, local Haitians trickled away from the site with bags of medicine and bandages putting a close on a successful mission. Although the corpsmen couldn't stay as long as they wanted or supply everyone with limitless medication, they worked hard to provide the locals with what they needed that day.