Dallas Business Man, Helping at Haiti Hospital, Struggles to Maintain Order, Questions His Actions

Nancy Visser, Dallas Morning News, January 29, 2010

Mike Roberts, a Dallas businessman who donated the use of his company plane to take medical workers and supplies to Haiti, has been helping manage operations at a community hospital where volunteer teams are treating people. He was invited to help out when the staff learned that he’s a CEO. He went to Haiti to try to help the children but said he now finds himself in a “nightmare situation.” {snip}

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Today was a tough. I came here hoping to be able to reach out and help the Haitian people. Instead I inherited a nightmare situation that no one was willing to do anything to change it.

We have no security, no armed guards, no other Americans except doctors and nurses to handle the situation we are in. This old hospital is completely surrounded by thousands of Haitians who have no shelter, food or water. The hospital is the only sustaining entity with supplies arriving regularly and therefore the main focus of survival for these people. They are flooding the hospital attempting to get food and water and are preventing access to those who are in desperate need of receiving medical attention.

Healthy people are acting sick and clogging the system in order to gain access. We even had a guy today come through the system just to charge his cell phone on one of the only working outlets. We have had to create several outside triage tents in order to attempt to screen out those who are really needing help.

{snip} I spent my day throwing out those who didn’t belong only to have them scream or beg me the rest of the day to let them in. The same thing was going on with the visitors. It was virtually impossible to handle this right. People were telling us they had family inside only to get in to steal supplies. {snip}

The pinnacle of the stress came when a shipment of 600 water bags showed up outside the front gate. Each bag contained about 30 smaller 12oz bags of water. The truck could only get 25 yds from the gate and before we knew it we were swarmed and blocked from getting back into the building. I was screaming at the top of my lungs for them to get back. I literally was shoving people back and throwing kids off the back of the truck. I am lucky the crowd didn’t fight back. If they would have turned on me there was no way I would have made it out of there alive. We ended up losing about a third of the water which was intended for the patients and they desperately needed every bit of it.

I came here to love on these people. I wanted to encourage them and build them up. Instead I have had to scream at them. Shove them. Ignore their cries for help. Choose whether or not to believe them. I can tell you that it sure doesn’t feel very Christ like. I wonder how he would have done it? I feel so conflicted. I know that this had to be done in order for the doctors to be able to do what they came here for and also to protect those who were in the hospital but I am just sick to my stomach at the role I have had to play in this. I am torn because I came here to help the children but I just can’t leave the rest of these guys alone with no one to handle the security issues.

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