PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Emergency medical personnel from Combined Joint Task Force – Haiti and Marine Air Ground Task Force – 8 responded to an accident involving an overturned truck filled with approximately 50 local workers here April 8.
Members of the Multinational Interim Force rushed to the scene near the Task Force’s compound that left two seriously injured and others with fractures, bruises and abrasions.
Service members arriving on the scene assessed the injuries, provided onsite aid and transported 14 of the injured to the Task Force’s “triage unit” in military ambulances.
“It took us less than seven minutes to respond once we got the call,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Quinn Goodson, Surgical Company C, one of the first on scene, “There was a lot of chaos amongst the crowd but we got through them and started taking in the most injured people first.”
Thirty-six other passengers and bystanders with minor injures were escorted into the compound where they received treatment from not only U.S. medical personnel but Canadian and Chilean personnel as well.
The cooperation of these forces enabled them to rapidly assess and treat all the injured and provide them with immediate essential treatment.
“We saw nearly 50 people in about four-hours,” said emergency physician, Commander Charles R. Nixon, “The cooperation between the different forces here was amazing, if someone could help they did.”
As the injured were assessed and treated, 17 patients with more critical injuries were evacuated in military ambulances to a local hospital.
“We were limited with what we could do here, so we sent them to a local hospital with as much supplies as we could,” Nixon explained.
To many of the locals attempting to help but finding they were able to do little more then comfort the injured workers, it was a great relief to see the multinational forces arriving to provide assistance, according to Jean Baptiste-Kesnel, who witnessed the accident.
“If the forces had not come, a lot of people would not have survived, “Baptiste-Kensel explained, “Everyone felt relieved when we saw the forces were coming out to help, we really admire what they did.”
Most of the multinational forces echoed the same response when asked about their role in providing aid to the workers.
“I’m glad we could help, and it shows the Haitian people another side of why we are here,” said Hospitalman Evan E. Zilliox, corpsman with MAGTF-8, who helped care for some of the injured. “It’s just another way we are trying to let people know we are doing our best to help the country.”