Amid Death And Destruction: New Life In Haiti

Despite the grim scene in Haiti, life, for some, goes on. NPR's John Poole and Joanne Silberner have been embedded with the Massachusetts 1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team in a field hospital in Port-au-Prince.

Obstetrician Anne Kathryn Goodman oversees births at the Health and Human Services field hospital. As of Friday morning, Jan. 22, six babies had been delivered at the field hospital. Poole and Silberner were there to document the delivery of little Sampson Brazile.

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  • Obstetrician Anne Kathryn Goodman (center) oversees births at the Health and Human Services field hospital in Port-au-Prince. As of Friday morning, Jan. 22, six babies have been delivered at the field hospital.
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    Obstetrician Anne Kathryn Goodman (center) oversees births at the Health and Human Services field hospital in Port-au-Prince. As of Friday morning, Jan. 22, six babies have been delivered at the field hospital.
    All photos by John Poole/NPR
  • Expectant mother Veda Brazile writhes in pain from contractions in a medical tent at the HHS field hospital. Goodman (left) oversees her birthing process.
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    Expectant mother Veda Brazile writhes in pain from contractions in a medical tent at the HHS field hospital. Goodman (left) oversees her birthing process.
  • Brazile grimaces during contractions as her husband, Tony Jean (right), holds her hand. Goodman gave her a small amount of morphine for the pain.
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    Brazile grimaces during contractions as her husband, Tony Jean (right), holds her hand. Goodman gave her a small amount of morphine for the pain.
  • Brazile wrings her hands around her husband's neck, an expression of her pain.
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    Brazile wrings her hands around her husband's neck, an expression of her pain.
  • Exhausted from the pain, Brazile asked Goodman to "reach in and pull the baby out." Goodman responded patiently that that is not how things work.
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    Exhausted from the pain, Brazile asked Goodman to "reach in and pull the baby out." Goodman responded patiently that that is not how things work.
  • Expectant father Jean cries outside the birthing tent. He fears that by asking his wife to drink a lot of "Sport Milk," a type of protein drink, while pregnant, he has made the baby too big for birth. Goodman assures him this is not the case.
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    Expectant father Jean cries outside the birthing tent. He fears that by asking his wife to drink a lot of "Sport Milk," a type of protein drink, while pregnant, he has made the baby too big for birth. Goodman assures him this is not the case.
  • After about 2 1/2 hours of labor, Sampson becomes the sixth baby born at the hospital. He later received care for a fast and irregular heartbeat — a complication of a difficult labor. He was cared for throughout the night and is now doing fine.
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    After about 2 1/2 hours of labor, Sampson becomes the sixth baby born at the hospital. He later received care for a fast and irregular heartbeat — a complication of a difficult labor. He was cared for throughout the night and is now doing fine.
  • Proud and relieved, Jean holds his new baby just minutes after birth. Jean used to work in a textile factory before the earthquake. But the factory has collapsed and he and his wife do not know what they will do after they leave the field hospital.
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    Proud and relieved, Jean holds his new baby just minutes after birth. Jean used to work in a textile factory before the earthquake. But the factory has collapsed and he and his wife do not know what they will do after they leave the field hospital.
  • Dr. Goodman smiles after a long day at the field hospital. She is the hospital's only obstetrician/gynecologist and has overseen the delivery of the six babies born so far. She is a member of the Massachusetts 1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT).
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    Dr. Goodman smiles after a long day at the field hospital. She is the hospital's only obstetrician/gynecologist and has overseen the delivery of the six babies born so far. She is a member of the Massachusetts 1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT).

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Although Sampson's parents were relieved after 2 1/2 hours of labor, they look to the future with anxiety. The father, Tony Jean, used to work in a textile factory before the earthquake. But the factory has collapsed and he and his wife do not know what they will do after they leave the field hospital. The Haitian government plans to move 400,000 earthquake victims from the shattered capital to camps in outlying areas in the coming weeks. In the meantime, earthquake relief continues to trickle in slowly.

— Claire O'Neill

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