February 8, 2010
by Bill Frist, M.D.

The work in Haiti continues, and there are still so many suffering. It is difficult to see if help is actually getting through at times with so much devastation and need. If you've followed my blog and twitter feed, you read some of the amazing things that have happened down there during this short time. There are hundreds of stories like these, but I wanted to share one with you now and thank the efforts of so many to make at least one success story.

I traveled to Haiti with Samaritan's Purse, an international relief organization, who had their first physician on the ground on January 13. Their work was tremendous and immediate. While I was there, they had built up to a 55-person Disaster Assistance Relief Team (DART), of which 21 were medical professionals. That number has only continued to grow since.

We quickly found that the orthopedic needs were tremendous. There were so many fractures and orthopedic injuries, that the supplies were quickly running out. Through our network, Dr. Dick Furman of Samaritan's Purse collected a list of needs, and we shared them on the web. As a result, we were able to connect with a major orthopedic manufacturing company named Synthes who donated all the supplies that were needed, including:

Small fragment sets (3.5 mm screws)
Large fragment sets (4.5mm screws)
External fixators--large size rods, metal connectors, and Shantz screws

After the call was put out for needs, Synthes quickly responded, sending a large cargo plane down to Port Au Prince full of needed supplies, both for Samaritan's Purse and others in the field. Because of the efforts of the dedicated staff at Synthes, I am certain that many more Haitians are on their way to recovery from the physical scars of this terrible tragedy.

I think this story is one of many going on currently, and I am going to try to find more to share with you. You can see that thanks to the power of the internet, desperate needs were identified and met very quickly, and lives were saved.

Keep your thoughts, prayers and efforts focused on Haiti. The need is great, and will continue to be for quite some time.