Gainesville alumni answer Haiti's call for help

A group of UF College of Medicine graduates left Gainesville Tuesday, Jan. 20, for Haiti to assist with earthquake relief efforts.

Organized by Jason Rosenberg, M.D. ’95, a plastic surgeon practicing with The Orthopaedic Institute in Gainesville, the team of surgeons includes Amanda Maxey, M.D. ’93; Steve Waters, M.D., ’75; Gregory Gaines, M.D., H.S. ’01; and surgical technician from the Orthopaedic Institute, Dale McDilda. They left from the Gainesville Regional Airport and were scheduled to stop in South Florida before heading to Haiti through Independencia in the Dominican Republic.

“Our plan is to go into Haiti and start operating,” Rosenberg said. “At the very least, we can help there in the D.R. where a lot of victims are arriving and need medical care.”

From left, Steve Waters, M.D. ’75; Dale McDilda, S.T.; Amanda Maxey, M.D. ’93; and Jason Rosenberg, M.D. ’95, board a plane at the Gainesville Regional Airport Tuesday. The medical team of surgeons (which will be joined by Dr. Gregory Gaines in South Florida) from The Orthopaedic Institute in Gainesville will provide medical support to injured people in the area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the devastating earthquake on January 12.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum provided logistical help in getting into Haiti. U.S. Senators Bill Nelson and George LeMieux also assisted in the effort, and the UF Foundation offered its plan for the flight.  Rosenberg also called administrators at North Florida Regional Hospital and Shands HealthCare asking for supplies to take to Haiti.

“I called Tim Goldfarb (CEO of Shands HealthCare) and asked to raid his closets,” said Rosenberg, president of the medical alumni board of directors at UF. “We now have a U-Haul full of supplies. We’re hopeful we can get to where it’s needed.”

Rosenberg said the team of doctors realizes it is in for a week of chaos, frustration and hard work but is ready for the challenge.

“Firefighters, police and military are the true heroes and always the ones running in when others are running away,” Rosenberg said. “This is a unique way for doctors to contribute in the same manner.”

To check the updates on The Orthopaedic Institute’s medical team’s mission in Haiti please visit The Orthopaedic Institute plans to make a monetary donation on behalf of the followers of the Twitter site.