When Catastrophe Strikes, Mass General Responds
Following the massive earthquake that rocked the island republic of Haiti in 2010, the world tuned into reports detailing the utter devastation of the city of Port-au-Prince and a shocking death toll. In the hours following the disaster, Massachusetts General Hospital mobilized a large-scale relief effort to bring aid to victims in Haiti as well as to their friends and family members at MGH and in the Boston area.
Approximately 80 Mass General volunteers deployed to Haiti in the weeks after the quake. Many were members of the U.S. Government International Medical Surgical Response Team (IMSuRT) or other National Disaster Medical System assets, medical and surgical groups organized to provide rapid-response disaster care during man-made disasters, including terrorism and natural disasters.
Mass General employees also pitched in to support several non-profit organizations working in Haiti, such as Partners in Health, a Harvard-based program and the non-profit aid agency Project HOPE. And Mass General also provided staff for the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort.
“MGH has had a longstanding relationship with Navy-organized humanitarian missions since the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina,” says Larry Ronan, MD, an MGH internist and a member of the hospital’s Center for Global Health who was part of the USNS mission. “The 560 medical professionals, including MGH volunteers, working aboard USNS Comfort operated a large tertiary care hospital on the ship. We were able to transport the sickest people to and from land by helicopter, deliver excellent care to the injured both on and off shore and provide badly needed medical supplies to the earthquake victims.”