Haiti Relief Plans Move from Shore to Ship

A partnership with the U.S. Navy to send a dozen UCLA nurses and doctors to help in Haiti has transformed into plans to send rotating teams of eight UCLA medical staff, after the Navy revised its plans.

By Alison Hewitt for UCLA Today
To help Haiti recover from the devastating 7.0 quake it suffered on Jan. 12, UCLA originally expected to staff a 150-bed mobile hospital the Navy intended to build, but the military recently determined it will not build the mobile hospital. UCLA is now organizing in response to requests from the Navy to send medical professionals with a variety of specialties to staff its hospital ship, the USNS Comfort. After getting word of the new plans on Tuesday, Feb. 9, medical volunteers are currently being asked to deploy from Florida on Sunday, Valentine's Day, for a two-week mission to Haiti.
"We are feverishly putting together the new team, and it looks like it will be pretty significant," said Shannon O'Kelley, associate director of operations in clinical services and the primary organizer of UCLA's Operation Haiti. "We're still finalizing numbers, but it looks like we'll be sending at least a team of eight on Sunday and then an additional group of eight every two weeks for a total of six weeks."
In January, the UCLA Health System sent a half-ton of medical and surgical supplies to Haiti via Operation USA. Anonymous donors paid for the supplies, including a $25,000 emergency-room pack.

Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010