Dr. Selwyn Rogers, chief of Burn, Trauma, and Surgical Critical Care at Brigham and Women's Hospital, has been working at a Partners In Health clinic in Saint Marc:
"There is a limitless list of patients ... There were ... people with open fractures ... that are 5-6 days old ... We are seeing ... wounds equivalent to the Civil War era when open fractures were not treated surgically. It is horrific."
Dr. Mark Hyman, in Port-au-Prince, writes: "Two orthopedic surgeons ... started the first amputation without water, electricity, or disinfectant. They used a rusty hacksaw we washed with vodka, lit by camping headlamps in an empty room with a few boxes of supplies we had packed into our plane. Over the last two days, we created five operating areas to care for the 1,200 patients who are still lying on the ground outside in the hospital's courtyard. They desperately need surgery to repair their crushed and broken bones, now festering and infected in the humidity and sweltering Haitian sun. The nurses and hospital staff are either dead or at home caring for their families. In the United States we have ten staff for every patient at most hospitals. There now are only a few local staff left for thousands of patients. They, too, are dead. They, too, have lost their homes."
In the face of such suffering, most Americans have opened their hearts and their wallets, offering money, aid, medical and technical assistance and prayers. But then there's the Evangelical so-called Christian Pat Robertson, who proclaimed that the earthquake was some sort of delayed Divine retribution for a "pact to the devil" the Haitians made in 1804 in order to defeat the French colonists and gain independence.
I'd like to propose that Robertson retire from the airwaves and spend his remaining days in quiet contemplation of St. Francis' prayer:
"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love ...
where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy; ... For it is in giving that we receive."
Another person who deserves to lose his place in public discourse and spend his time contemplating what it means to be a decent human being is Rush Limbaugh, who managed to make this into a political "race card" issue against President Obama:
"This will play right into Obama's hands. He's humanitarian, compassionate. They'll use this to burnish their ... `credibility' with the black community ... It's made-to-order for them."
Since when has being humanitarian and compassionate been a bad thing? Limbaugh went even further, urging people not to donate to relief efforts. "We've already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax."
If helping Haiti might possibly benefit Limbaugh's political enemies, then Haiti must not be helped. What will it take for the GOP to denounce this creep?
Kudos to former President George W. Bush. "I don't know -- what they're talking about," he said of Limbaugh's claims. "I'd say now is not the time to focus on politics."
Fortunately, most Americans have ignored Limbaugh. A Zogby poll found that 64 percent of citizens have either given to aid relief or plan to give. Our nation, at least, understands, if Limbaugh does not, the words of I John 3:17: "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?"