Erlanger sends second medical team to Haiti

As one Erlanger hospital team returns from a medical mission trip in Haiti, a second team gets ready to start working there.

A group of three doctors and three nurses left Wednesday morning from TAC Air at Lovell Field. Dr. Phillip Smith, who is with University Surgical Associates and a member of the team, said the group tentatively plans to stay seven days.

Cyrus Huffman, chief medical officer for Erlanger Health System, said the first team, dubbed "America One," worked at St. Damian Hospital in Haiti. The second team, he said, "is more of a pediatric group to meet the requests of the (hospital's) leadership."

The first team of two doctors and a nurse that left Jan. 18 was expected to return late Wednesday night, according to Vanessa Young, wife of Dr. Chris Young, one of the doctors on the team.

Also on the first team were Dr. Chris Moore and Erlanger nurse Jennifer Ohle.

HOW TO HELP* To help fund the medical missions, visit or call 423-778-6600.SECOND TEAM:* Dr. Philip Smith, surgeon with University Surgical Associates* Dr. Bruce Johnson, anesthesiologist from Cookeville, Tenn.* Dr. Pat Keegan, pediatrician with T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital* Julie DeMary, Erlanger post-operative care registered nurse* Barbara Rhyne, T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital pediatric intensive care registered nurse* Rhesa Rodriguez, T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital pediatric intensive care registered nurse

While in Haiti, that team worked alongside Italian surgeons, treating many infections and fractures, according to their spouses and Erlanger officials.

The second team, Dr. Huffman said, is expected to provide mostly wound care and postsurgical help inside St. Damian, a pediatric hospital on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. According to the hospital's Web site, it's the only free pediatric hospital in Haiti, funded through international donations.

Both medical missions from Chattanooga were funded by private individuals, said Dr. Huffman. He encouraged people to donate to the Care Force Global Fund, created by the Baroness Erlanger Foundation, in hopes of continuing the medical mission in Haiti.

Staff photographer Tim Barber contributed to this article.

See more coverage of the Haiti earthquake here

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