Colorado doctor shares experience treating Haitian earthquake victims

Local News

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Dr. Eric Hill is back in Colorado after treating earthquake victims in Haiti. Hill, an Army veteran, the medical director and an ER physician at The Medical Center of Aurora, knows how to put his diverse skillset to work as a member of Team Rubicon.

Moments after the devastating earthquake hit Haiti in August, Hill was busy planning to fly there.

“It is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” Hill said as he recalled his experience during a conversation with FOX31’s Michael Konopasek.

Doctors at The Medical Center of Aurora covered for Hill as he was away. He was part of a small group of volunteers assessing where there was the greatest need.

Their journey took them to a community called Les Cayes where they sought help from a local pastor who sheltered the team at his compound. Hill then went from hospital to hospital in the hard-hit area.

“We were by far the first ones from an American medical team, or any kind of doctor team, that was doing that,” Hill said.

The team worked long hours in the heat and humidity.

“[We saw] pretty devastating fractures and dislocations,” Hill said. “A lot of significant wounds.”

Patients suffering in agonizing pain included children.

“I’m a father of three, and that broke my heart,” Hill said as he became emotional.

Resources were tight and operating rooms were either destroyed or at capacity, Hill said. He was forced to improvise in many ways and treat injuries with little or no pain medication. He spent a total of nine days in country and left only as more help arrived.

“It puts it in perspective what we’re dealing with here in America,” Hill said. “Yes, we’ve got long wait times right now. Yes, the healthcare system is stretched. But it’s nothing like what [the Haitians] experience.”

Hill said the entire experience has restored his faith in medicine and the passion he has for his job at a time when many medical workers are experiencing COVID-19 burnout.

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