The Scene From A Makeshift Hospital In Haiti

NPR's Carrie Kahn flew in to Port-au-Prince with a medical team. She tells Melissa Block that the airport in the capital has been turned into a makeshift hospital.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

NPR's Carrie Kahn is at the airport in Port-au-Prince. Carrie, you flew in with a medical team. Tell us what you've seen.

CARRIE KAHN: This medical team is coming from the University of Miami. They're trauma specialists. We flew in on a charter flight. And I can't tell you, Melissa, within 20 minutes, they were at a makeshift hospital here doing triage and getting patients back in the van that we came in, back out to the airport to head back to Miami for help. They are just amazing.

In this hospital, it's devastating to see this. You see people convulsing in pain, small children crying out begging their parents to help them. There's broken bones. Everybody has something wrapped around their head. It's a very desperate situation, but I talked to some of the people that are standing around, and they say this is the best of the best at Port-au-Prince now.

BLOCK: This is a makeshift hospital set up at the airport itself.

KAHN: Yes. Officials just did - it looks like a hanger that they store airplanes in. It's a cloth hanger and they just put cot after cot after cot, and they are trying to do the best they can with the rudimentary equipment that they have. I saw people with broken arms, that they're trying to make splints out of magazines.

BLOCK: Carrie, can you estimate how many injured people there are at that makeshift hospital there at the airport?

KAHN: Over 100. More than 100 people here. It's clear. When the plane landed, the doctors were led by President Rene Preval and his wife. And at the meeting, when the doctors just held hands with him, everybody started weeping. They were just crying. There were no words to say. And they were shaking their heads. And then the first lady began just saying, it's devastating over and over again. It's devastating. It's devastating. And then the president (unintelligible) within minutes we were here at the Argentine(ph) base, this makeshift hospital.

BLOCK: Carrie, thank you very much.

KAHN: You're welcome.

BLOCK: That NPR's Carrie Kahn speaking with us from a makeshift hospital that's been set up at the airport in Port-au-Prince.

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