It has been 7 years since the devastating earthquake hit Haiti. Its epicenter was a mere 16 miles from the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives, and those who survived lost nearly everything else.
On Day 4 after the quake, accompanied by Drs. Ale and Ian Mitchell, LEAP Founder Dr. Craig Hobar worked around the clock, amputating gangrenous limbs and repairing facial injuries of victims pulled from the rubble in Port-au-Prince.
LEAP then sent rotating surgical teams for 6 months, during which time we developed a close partnership with locally based Hopital Espoir and saw the extreme need for continued surgical care beyond our disaster relief efforts.
It was then that we felt called to continue serving the people of Haiti and remain committed to the healing process in every way possible. For those who lost their lives in the earthquake, all we could do was promise to never forget them and keep working to bring positive change.
We plan on having a lasting presence there as Haiti continues to heal and rebuild. Here’s how we’ve served the Haitian community over the last 7 years:
- We’ve traveled twice a year to Hopital Espoir with surgical teams suited to meet the unique needs of Haitian children, with specialties in plastic, ENT, urology, and general surgery
- Over 240 volunteers have provided free assessments and surgical care to over 1,000 patients on our biannual missions.
- Built a Pediatric Ward in 2014 with the construction expertise and overwhelming generosity of longtime volunteers Janet and Pat Ortega.
- Built an expanded E.R. and Outpatient Clinic in 2016, again with the help of the Ortega family, and with funding provided by L.A. Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen.
As a result of seeing the potential impact LEAP could have as a nimble organization ready and willing to send highly qualified surgeons to disaster zones, we formally created our International Disaster Relief program, which has since partnered with the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) to form ISAPS-LEAP Surgical Relief Teams© , which brings together elite teams of surgeons from all over the world to travel to areas of extreme need. To date, we have sent 24 surgical teams to Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey to treat nearly 900 victims of the Syrian crisis. (Learn more about our IDR Program here.)