South Carolina medical mission team returns home from Haiti

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC - A team of South Carolina missionaries are back home from their medical trip to Haiti.

They flew to the country to help save the lives of hundreds of severely hurt Haitians that needed extensive medical care.

It's been less than a day since Mike Petrillo returned from his mission trip to Haiti, but as he sits in his South Carolina home looking through photos of the hundreds of lives he and others saved, he wishes he could have done more to help.

"It was a moving experience," said Petrillo.

It was pictures of destruction and devastation that moved Petrillo to arrange and gather supplies for a weeklong medical mission to Haiti - one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere.

The team left last Friday, and after two days of travel on a donated 8-seat turboprop they arrived In Haiti.

"These are people that had wounds from four or five days ago and so the wounds had already started to necrot and the tissue had already started to die," said Petrillo. "So the smell was unbearable."

The emergency medical technician and the 5 person medical team soon realized the amount of work that needed to be done at the hospital in Bon Fin.

"There were people everywhere that were injured that were brought from Port au Prince over to the hospital where we were practicing," said Petrillo. "People were everywhere trying to get help and there was nobody there to help them. There was no medical supplies, there was no food, there was very little water. So our first course of action was to figure out who desperately needed the attention."

The team worked around the clock trying to save the injured arms and legs, but many people had to amputate.

The pain at times was unbearable for the patients, especially since the team had run out of pain medication, but the patients helped each other work though the pain.

"We were honored and humbled about that - amidst the pain and suffering there, they still cared for each other," said Petrillo, reflecting on what he had seen.

The images continue to speak volumes to this EMT who made it his mission to care for the Haitians.

The same day the South Carolina missionaries left Haiti, a new team of professionals arrived at the hospital to take their place.

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