TWO Huddersfield medical professionals are back – after life-saving missions in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
Accident and emergency manager Craig Wood and emergency medicine consultant Amjid Mohammed were part of team who carried out emergency surgery on countless victims in capital Port-au-Prince last month.
Mr Wood and Dr Mohammed, who both work at Calderdale Royal Hospital, were flown out by medical relief charity Medical Emergency Relief International (Merlin) on January 18.
The team, including plastic surgeon Waseem Saeed who has a practice in Huddersfield, set up a temporary hospital on a tennis court in Delmas, near the centre of Port-au-Prince.
The voluntary team included an anaesthetist and nurses.
They were chosen because of their previous experience of working in disaster zones.
Both Mr Wood and Dr Mohammed had provided medical earthquake relief in Pakistan in 2005.
Dr Mohammed also helped in earthquake-hit China in 2008 and Indonesia in September.
Their team treated about 80 to 90 people a day, up to 10 of whom needed emergency surgery.
The death toll from last month’s devastating earthquake is now estimated to have been 212,000. A further 300,000 people were injured.
It is estimated that around one million people, from a population of nine million, were made homeless in the 7.0-magnitude quake.
On Friday Mr Wood, from Brighouse, gave a talk to pupils at Salendine Nook High School on his work in Haiti
Mr Wood, who was responsible for finding people to treat, said: “The whole ethos is make sure the plastic surgeon is working. Our whole point was to keep him busy.
“It’s a bit grim out there but it’s rewarding to see what we achieved.
“In the aftermath of an earthquake, there’s a high death toll. Then there’s critical problems.
“Five to six days later they will survive and you’re working to save limbs. You try to save limbs and close wounds so there are no secondary problems.
“In a country like Haiti which is very poor if people are left with amputations and prostheses the chance of them getting a job or having a use is severely curtailed.”
Dr Mohammed, 40, of Beaumont Park, runs a private practice at Wellfield House, New Hey Road.
He said: “I’ve been to a number of these disasters so we were prepared for the devastation but it was particularly bad in Haiti.
“As a doctor, I found it a privilege to go and help.
“It’s not nice to go to these things but if the need is there it’s almost an obligation as a medical professional ... even if its thousands of miles away.”