For five straight days, top physicians and executives from Cleveland Clinic Florida, led by CEO and President Dr. Wael Barsoum, have been flying in and out of Abaco, providing medical aid to the wounded or injured following the passage of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian that tore through the northern Bahama island leaving a path of devastation in its wake. Cleared by Bahamas officials, the team landed in Treasure Cay September 5, becoming the first, non-local caregivers to provide aid to its Bahamian neighbours. Equipped with medical supplies and a ‘patients first’ mindset, five clinicians armed with a relief plan assessed immediate needs of some 400 island residents with a special focus on those that need urgent attention. Physicians administered IV fluids to combat dehydration, applied bandages and topical antibiotics to wounds and supervised transporting the most critical cases to hospitals in Nassau.
“I’m very proud of the swift action of the entire team that allowed us to deploy our clinical personnel and much needed medical supplies and water by Thursday morning to these areas,” said Dr. Barsoum. “I’m especially grateful for the generosity of our relief partners Aitheras Aviation Group and its affiliate, Acute Air Ambulance, for their transportation support.”
The hospital deployed a second relief team, consisting of Cleveland Clinic Martin Health clinicians and Weston ER nurses, who were on the ground delivering supplies, including antibiotics and tetanus boosters, and dispensing much- needed care. “Safety is always our number one priority, and I am proud of our caregivers who went above and beyond to care for all of patients,” said Dr. Barsoum, the top physician and executive of the hospital system that ranks #1 among hospitals in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area. “While the storm has passed, our work continues.”
Barsoum and his team recognize that it will take time for the impacted population of just over 17,000 persons needing assistance to receive it.
“I want to thank all our caregivers who have so generously contributed to our food and supply collection efforts,” he said. “We will continue to accept donations until conditions stabilize. We also anticipate that many return trips with relief teams will be needed to address the emergent healthcare needs during this crisis.” Anyone wishing to donate to Cleveland Clinic Florida’s efforts to aid the islands’ recovery efforts may do so by visiting my.clevelandclinic.org/florida.