Haitian quake victims recovering in our area

October 5, 2010 8:32:01 PM PDT
Peering out of a house in Germantown is Given Dorsinde Denera, a 5-year-old boy from Haiti who is learning new things everyday but 10-months-ago was severely injured during the earthquake in Haiti. His right leg was crushed, breaking numerous bones and he suffered a severe chemical burn.

He was one of 19 patients brought to Philadelphia by 'Partners in Health,' a non-profit that arranged medical care for Haitians who couldn't wait for help to arrive.

"We were only allowed to bring people here who would have died between 12 and 24 hours had they not arrived here," explained Naomi Rosenberg of P.I.H.

Given was treated at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is now wearing a boot on her lower leg but is on the way to making a full recovery.

Wilner Pierre, 29, also of Haiti was treated at Jefferson University Hospital. Through a translator he said when he arrived, he thought he was dead. "I do not consider that I was alive." He was at school when the earthquake struck and he got trapped under heavy debris for four hours.

"I was without hope and I heard two people walking by and I said 'I'm here,' he said. After being freed, Wilner was taken to a Haitian hospital but no one could help. "I said to my mom, I am going to go home and die, but I prayed to God saying 'send me a specialist. '"

He said his prayers were answered. He had surgery at Jefferson, spent two months there, then six months at Magee Rehabilitation. He is now paralyzed from the waist down and learning to live in a wheelchair. "That doesn't bother me much because I have met a lot of people who have the same condition but they do whatever they want, they go to school and learn," he said.

And that's what Wilner wants - to learn English and finish school here. Naomi Rosenberg of Partners in Health says even if Wilner wanted to go back to Haiti, it's just not ready.

"Haiti still has no roads, most people are living in tents or on the streets and I think enormous efforts are being made to accommodate the disabled, it's not a place yet where we could safely and comfortably send him home," she said.

So just last week Wilner was welcomed into his new home in Germantown. It was donated by the Haitian Tabernacle church of God next door. It houses eight Haitians all brought over by Partners in Health including Given and Celeine Gay who was treated by doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and was fitted for a prosthetic leg.

"I love it because, with it, I can stand and walk again," Gay said.

But like Wilner she left behind family in Haiti, a husband and three kids. Still, she doesn't complain.

"It is due to the grace of people who helped me that I can even sit here and talk about my children so I can't complain," she said.

The group has now become like a new family. They eat together, go to church together and support each other emotionally. While some plan to stay in the U.S., others will try to return to Haiti once they have recovered.

Partners in Health is funded through private donations and government and international grants.

Much more help is still needed in Haiti. Click below for information about donating to the continuing relief effort.

Project Medishare

Partners in Health

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund


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