LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Three weeks ago a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook the capital of Haiti to its core killing tens of thousands of Haitians and injuring many more. Humanitarian organizations continue to send millions of dollars in supplies to the devastated country, but medical personnel are still needed. Now, a Lubbock nurse prepares to join the relief efforts using her vacation time.
The day after the earthquake hit Covenant nurse Chris Welch went online searching for a way she could help victims of the quake. She found an organization that needs nurses on the ground in Haiti and she is packing her bags. "I feel it's just part of being a nurse. You want to go and you want to help," said Welch about the calling she heard to make the trip to Haiti.
For the last 16 years Welch has helped patients at Covenant Hospital and Tuesday she leaves to help victims in Haiti. "When I was briefed Saturday they told me I would be starting thousands of IV lines and that I would be in pre and post-op and possibly working in the ER," she said.
Welch searched for a way to get to the country to help and found a group at the University of Miami sponsored by World Vision, a non-profit humanitarian organization. She applied and received a call Saturday informing her she was scheduled to deploy in 72 hours.
The group recommended the bare necessities and told her to pack scrubs, closed toe shoes, sanitizing equipment, power bars, towels and toilet paper. "I'm honored for the opportunity to get to go and do something," Welch said about her trip.
Born in the West Indies, Welch speaks conversational French and hopes that helps her connect with her new patients. "What I told myself is if I can help one person or hold their hand while they are dying and maybe give them pain medication to make it easier I'll really feel this been worth it," she said.
Welch is taking all of her own vacation days plus some of her husband's, who also works at the Covenant, in order to spend the next three weeks working helping out in a tent hospital. "I'm really hoping I can come back and people will hear from me firsthand about what they are experiencing there and that will make a difference," she said.
Welch is responsible for getting to Miami on her own and Covenant Hospital donated $1,000 to help her get there. She is taking medications and received several shots so she doesn't get sick. Her flight to Haiti leaves Miami at 9 p.m. Tuesday night.
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