Local Doctors Help a Country in Ruins

October 5, 2011 Updated Oct 5, 2011 at 8:00 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By By Jaclyn Asztalos

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October 5, 2011 Updated Oct 5, 2011 at 8:00 AM EDT

Western New York doctors with 'Hope for Tomorrow' Foundation treat Haitians.

Les Cayes, Haiti (WKBW) - The Country of Haiti has seen its share of death and destruction. The country is struggling with poverty and lack of infrastructure but also recovering from a 2010 earthquake that nearly knocked them off the map.

To a group of Western New York doctors and students with the 'Hope for Tomorrow' Foundation, this was a land of opportunity to give back and help the people suffering from all types of ailments.

"I have seen things that I will never see again in my lifetime," Health and Science Student Erica Funnel said.

Dr. Jeffrey Meilman is the Chairman of the foundation.

"Some of them had significant deformities, things we would not see here because these deformities would have been treated years ago. There was one with hernia down to his knees," Dr. Jeffrey Meilman said.

And some residents have to turned their faith in a situation they said is not looking up.

"I always pray God change the situation," Haitian resident.

With the help of groups like 'Hope for Tomorrow', U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten said there's hope.

"Things are getting better and I hope they just continue to get better. It's going to be a challenge that these folks will have to grapple with for years to come," Merten said.

Dr. Meilman said they help more than 100 people in their four day stay but he said maintaining what they accomplished is almost impossible.

"There was no follow up because there were no medical people present or able to do the follow up anywhere in the vicinity do the follow up," Meilman said.

There is one important thing they did leave behind. Dr. Hratch Karamanoukian trained local medical resident Dr. Jean Yves Glauv. He hopes that this one man can continue to heal long after the group is gone.

"I've learned so many things from him. Hopefully when he leaves I can do it myself," Glauv said.

Overall, the group said they feel good about what they did in a short period of time.

"I felt very good personally and professionally to give back. I'm very fortunate for what I have. I work hard but there are certainly people who are less fortunate," Karamanoukian said.

Dr Karamanoukian said they hope to return someday and encourage others to make the trek, giving the Haitian people medical relief they deserve.

"This is a very needy city, so needy that they begged us to come back and help them," Dr. Karamanoukian said.