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placeholder Church in Germany tackles abuse crisis with apologies, new rules

Vatican defends efforts by pope to curb abuse

Pope’s brother apologizes for abuse at school where he was choirmaster

East Bay parishioners recount visits to quake-ravaged Haiti

CRS teams with others to move Haitian Catholic hospital

After death, devastation in Haiti, Salesians rethink 21st century

New leadership named at Cathedral of Christ the Light

Rite of Election is key step in process of initiation into Church

From Pentecostalism to Catholicism: Ordinary moments led Antioch mom on faith journey

Choosing to be Catholic, not just riding the wave

EWTN to air Easter liturgies from Rome

Anglicans entering Church should blend well, Cardinal Levada says

Vatican Museum still uncovering mummy mysteries

Vatican rep to UN urges full respect of religious freedom

Why I became a priest: ‘On my knees asking for a sign to make the right choice’

Cemeteries program provides income-tax benefits

Diocesan Science Fair highlights student research, presentations

New lay leaders graduate from schools for pastoral ministry

New diocesan coordinator for youth, young adults

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placeholder March 22, 2010   •   VOL. 48, NO. 6   •   Oakland, CA

Benia Celestin, who has a fractured hip, talks to Dr. Hans-Muller Thomas March 5 at St. Francis de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Her armband bears the number 1, indicating she was the first trauma patient admitted to what was left of the hospital, following the Jan. 12 earthquake.
CNS PHOTO/TOM TRACY
CRS teams with others to
move Haitian Catholic hospital

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CNS) — The blue armband around Benia Celestin’s wrist bears her name and the number 1, indicating she was the first trauma patient admitted to what was left of St. Francis de Sales Hospital following the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Celestin remains in a bed under a temporary tarp in the hospital’s courtyard near the center of the Haitian capital. A brace holds together her fractured hip.

“I fell through the second floor of my building while standing in front of a TV set when the earthquake struck,” she told doctors from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center who were visiting the hospital in early March as part of special delegation teamed with Catholic Relief Services.

The medical teams include 20 surgeons and other health care workers who rotate in and out of Haiti weekly. CRS manages peripheral aspects of their work, including management of drug supplies, laboratory needs, finance and compliance and working with community health workers.

One member of the team, Dr. Robert Redfield, said Celestin needs follow up treatment involving equipment not normally available in the poverty-wracked country. Her recovery will be hastened if she is moved to a better-equipped location, he said.

About 80 percent of the hospital was destroyed in the earthquake. Despite the destruction, the hospital remains one of the primary treatment centers for patients with trauma and chronic illnesses. Doctors from around the world have treated patients since the earthquake under primitive conditions in tents and under tarps and plastic sheeting hung from trees.

Because of the hospital’s importance to Haiti’s health care network, plans are underway to relocate it to a safer location so patients can continue their treatment.

With donations and grant money from an existing partnership between CRS and the Maryland trauma center, the hospital will move in April to the grounds of the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince’s Our Lady of Cazeau Seminary near the international airport. The move will allow for the demolition and rebuilding of the existing St. Francis de Sales Hospital.

CRS is setting up what amounts to a field hospital, with surgical and rehabilitation rooms and a wide array of emergency equipment.

The decision to relocate the hospital was based partly on the fact that the neighborhood where people were being discharged was virtually destroyed, leaving them with no place safe to go, said Karen Moul, communications officer for CRS. The medical staff was concerned that discharged patients were returning to unsafe and unsanitary tent cities that could hasten the onset of infection and other complications.

“We would like to keep them longer but there are more patients coming in that we need to see,” Moul said.

In addition to treating earthquake victims, the hospital was one of Haiti’s leading centers for AIDS prevention and care. The move will allow those services to resume.

Prior to the earthquake, CRS Haiti had received a $6 million grant from the U.S. government to partner with the University of Maryland for AIDS prevention and care for about 3,000 people. The grant was targeted to create a “center of excellence” in HIV care at St. Francis de Sales.

Moul expressed concern that the disruption in care caused by the earthquake will promote the spread of a more deadly form of HIV as patients miss their treatments, leading to a drug-resistant form of the virus.

“Without care, (patients) will be subject to other opportunistic infections,” Moul said. “There are second-line medications which are expensive and difficult to find in developing countries so we want to keep them in the first-line medications.”

“If we could keep everybody engaged in their medication, it would be better, especially as people are really moving around a lot,” she said.

 
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