LEOGANE, Haiti (NNS) -- Navy doctors, hospital corpsmen and other Sailors assigned to USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) joined a team of international doctors at a field hospital in Leogane, Haiti, to provide primary medical and dental care to the Haitian people as their country recovers in the wake of the Jan. 12 earthquake.
The field hospital, an initiative by the Dominican Republic, is an international effort. In addition to Carter Hall medical staff, medical professionals from the U.S., France, Germany, Cuba, Brazil and other countries volunteer.
"After the earthquake, a team of Dominican doctors, nurses and logistic personnel opened up this camp," said Rafael Taveras, field hospital coordinator from the Dominican Republic. "Since we've been here, the international response has been great. We have people from all parts of the world who have joined this joint effort."
The field hospital is set up outside the Hospital Cardinal Leger, a private hospital which was the most modern medical facility in Leogane before it was nearly destroyed by the earthquake. Now, several tents in the front of the hospital act as makeshift doctor's offices where more than 800 patients have been treated in the past three weeks.
"We're helping any patients who need medical care," said Lt. Dalia Figueroa, temporarily assigned as medical officer aboard Carter Hall. "They can come here and get help."
Working with a diverse group of medical professionals has been a unique experience for both the Carter Hall staff and the international organization volunteers.
"I've had the opportunity to work with medical professionals from different countries," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF/SW) Sergio Hernandez, from Carter Hall. "I've learned from them and got to see how they do their jobs. It's fascinating to see so many different approaches to medicine. This is an experience that I will always remember."
"It's very interesting," said Tina Schultz, a doctor from Germany. "We're close and we can ask each other for help if we need it. There have been no problems and everyone is very friendly."
In addition to the medical staff, more than 100 other Carter Hall Sailors and Seabees from Amphibious Construction Battalion 2 helped at the hospital clearing rubble from the dilapidated buildings around the facility.
"They [Sailors] have been super helpful," said Taveras. "They join us in treating patients and they've been here cleaning up a lot of the buildings."
The hospital is a revolving door of medical professionals. Some stay a few days or weeks and others will stay for months. Despite the turnover, there is a camaraderie that is forged by the determination to help.
"Everyone is focused on just one idea: to come here and help," said Taveras. "The field hospital is a special place for people to join and experience giving medical aid to others."
"It's a great feeling to be here," added Lt. Joseph Reardon, Carter Hall dental officer. "There is a definite need to help these people. They're very appreciative and they will come from miles away to seek treatment. I enjoy being here tremendously."
USS Bataan (LHD 5), and amphibious dock landing ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and Carter Hall provide military support capabilities to civil authorities stabilizing and improving the situation in Haiti as a part of Operation Unified Response.
For more news about relief efforts in Haiti, visit http://www.navy.mil/haiti/index.asp.
For more news from USS Carter Hall, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lsd50/.