January 21st, 2010
04:29 PM ET

Hope in Haiti

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/HEALTH/01/21/haiti.rhabdomyolysis.crush.injury/smlvid.rhabdomyolosis.gi.jpg width=300 height=169]

Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

I’ve never heard Dr. Sanjay Gupta despair. Which is why it was so upsetting to hear him last night on AC360. Here’s what he told Anderson.

“I feel a little hopeless,” said Sanjay. “And I hate saying that. I just hate feeling that way.” What to do when you start to lose hope is a critical question almost everyone confronts at one time or another.

Sanjay, and through him, many of us, are feeling hopeless after witnessing so many preventable deaths.

He had just finished a story on two Haitian doctors, twin brothers, who’ve been trying to save life after life at their hospital. But they don’t even have enough supplies to dress a child’s wound without causing severe pain. And there’s no place to send the injured even when they can be saved.

Sanjay had also just finished a story on what’s become a hallmark injury in Haiti – crush injuries. He explains how a crushed muscle can break down and release particles into the bloodstream which can cause kidney failure. A lack of supplies means amputation after amputation that would be unnecessary with the right medicine and equipment.

Our newsgathering teams have found enough inspiring stories of individual commitment in Haiti to fill a large reservoir of hope. But the reservoir can get drained by the sheer scale of suffering. Anderson captured it last night with these words:

: “…if you're a doctor or you're a nurse,” said Anderson, “load up a suitcase with whatever you got and just come down, because no matter where you go, I mean there are public parks with people performing surgery...”

In other words, Haiti is like a giant hospital waiting room without the hospital. The waiting is killing people.

No wonder Sanjay said last night “I feel a little hopeless.”

No wonder he told Anderson “I just simply can’t understand.”

We know that hopelessness can lead to paralysis.

So I was encouraged when I woke up this morning, checked my CNN email, and read about the story Sanjay would pursue today.

He and his producer, Danielle Dellorto, and CNN photojournalist Jonathan Schaer, were setting out for the Port-Au-Prince airport, to examine the pallets of relief supplies and try to figure out what might be preventing those supplies from getting to the survivors more quickly – to determine whether there might be a way to speed things up.

Last night Sanjay was feeling a sense of hopelessness.

He and his team woke up with purpose.

A few moments ago I got word that Gupta’s team has just left the airport with new insights.

They will soon report on what they learned today about the moving parts of the relief operation – and how it might better serve the sprawling emergency waiting room of Haiti.

Their purpose is to help us all understand more than we did yesterday.

There is hope.

Filed under: Haiti Earthquake • Michael Schulder • Opinion
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Tammy, Houma, LA

    Hope exists in the everyday miracles of living. What most impresses me is the faith of the Haitian people in spite of what they are enduring. They teach us all that faith brings hope in spite of the worst possible circumstances. You are doing an unbelievable job down there reporting the stories that keep this alive in the hearts and minds of everyone else. What you did after Katrina will never be forgotten by those of us from Louisiana. What you are doing now is even more unforgettable. Thank you.

    January 21, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  2. Kathryn

    I don't think anyone realized the true magnitude of the destruction suffered in Haiti. Because of that it's apparent its even more difficult to measure progress. It's sad to think how many people in places outside of PaP went unnoticed and could have been saved if resources would have been spread outside of the city. What is disturbing is seeing the number of politicians who feel they have to go and make their presence known....haven't seen many of them pulling bags of bandages or medicines out of their pockets and applying them to people in need. And if anyone thinks that Haiti will be back to normal in a few months, think a few decades. Is the world committed to aid for the long run?

    January 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  3. Aimee

    If I know local nurses willing to go, who do I put them in touch with in order to get down there and in??

    January 21, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  4. Rozanne

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Not for just being "journalists" but by being human. Thanks you for your feelings, as well as your insights. I would be hard pressed to listen to any news organization whose people would not allow themselves to be moved by the humanitarian tragedy the Hatian people are experiencing.

    I applaud you for your professionalism, but most of all for your humanity. Chin up guys! There are a lot of us here in the States counting on you to bring us unvarnished truth. And to Dr. Gupta; I've seen you embody what most physicians here have forgotten: to help when and where and how much you can. While the shear magnitude of what's occurred can become overwhelming, you're doing great at saving your little corner of the world. If we all did that, eventually the corners would touch, and the whole world would be much better off.

    January 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  5. Isabel - Brazil •

    Every night I go to sleep after AC360. This past week, every morning I wake up and I think how can I bring words of hope for those who are working hard in Haiti.

    A word of solidarity, an expression of caring in a moment of despair can help.

    Yesterday I found you (Dr Gupta and AC) so revolted and discouraged – I expected for this, but I was concerned because after all you all did, you feel discouraged !

    I also have these feelings, but we believe that the situation will improve. Last week there was much less, the world is moving and there is progress, despite the help does not follow (nor of near) the needs of the people.

    Keep talking! Someone has to listen!

    January 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  6. rtea Ann

    God Bless Sanja Gupta...

    January 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  7. Donata

    The only reason our family has not lost all hope is the reporting you all are doing from Haiti. By asking the hard questions and demanding answers lives will be saved. We will watch tonight and know that so many of us around the world are thankful for the difficult work you are enduring to keep the Haitian voice alive.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  8. Katja

    It is only human to feel despair in all that Sanjay has seen and all he has been doing. He is a human that feels, not a machine. I salute all that he, Danielle and Jonathan are showing us, so far from their own families. Keep your chin up, folks, we back home believe in you.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
  9. Ladis

    Hopelessness seems to be the common bond around the world,
    But all the doctors , reporters, and rescue teams have all been going above and beyond, giving their best to help the people of Heiti...
    They need to be reminded of this when their emotions are challenged. We support you for all of your dedication

    January 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  10. Vicky, Ottawa

    God bless Sanjay, Anderson, and the rest of the team. They must be getting quite tired and worn out, but I think we just wait for any report they can send about what's going on. Hope they do get some respite and sleep. Just saw the Haitian Prime Minister interviewed outside the Canadian embassy in Haiti and it sounds like there's just been huge issues sorting out what's in the arriving containers, sorting, and sending it out. Really looking forward to Dr. Gupta's report, and Anderson's, and the rest of the team.

    Glad to see the report about the part of the port being re-opened!

    January 21, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  11. Kimberly

    Dr. Gupta is our own American hero. Please find a way to ensure that he receives an award of some kind. What he has done in Haiti since day ONE is beyond the call of duty. We so appreciate his willingness to put himself in harm's way in order to save the lives of others. He is one of the few Doctors who actually lives his Hypocratic oath and takes it seriously.

    Please extend very heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. I hope to read that he has been given an award or award(s) of recognition and gratitude. He makes us proud to be Americans.


    Kimberly Mercier

    January 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  12. Wendy Mella

    There is hope coming out of the rubles, there is hope no matter how hard the things can get, we all know is a very hard situation, To Dr. Gupta, AC and all the team that is working around the clock : thanks a lot, we still have hope, we keep donating, we are still praying, we still hope that Haiti can reborn again as the nation that we would like to live in.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  13. Thanhhuong thi Nguyen

    I'm not a certified nurse but I do have experienced in first aid, well trained by Continental Airlines as a International Flight Attendant. With Riverside County as a home care services. Been volunteered with Red Cross in Philippine's Refugee Camp back in 1981. Can I go to Haiti now? On my own expense!

    January 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  14. Kim Crouch

    All I can say is your coverage of this disaster will forever change the way I look at CNN again. You guys have been phenomenal! Keep up the good work.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  15. Bev

    It bothered more also hearing Dr. Gupta last night. Even after Katrina I have never heard him sound so despairing. I will be anxious to hear that he's found out something positive about the medical supplies at the airport tonight.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  16. Virginia Larson

    I watch your programming religiously because I feel I get the most complete and honest reporting. You covered the despair on the part of Dr. Gupka(sp) for the lack of medical equipment, personnel, and supplies reaching the areas where needed. I understand your frustration, despair, and anger. I am retired now but worked for the Federal Government for 40 years. I learned a long time ago to do my job (as well as other's jobs) as complete and honest as possible without making any waves and not expecting any recognition or commendations. I put in extra hours and took work home at times in order to get it done, without extra pay or even a thank you.

    I found errors in work that superiors had approved and when I inquired about the situation, it caused a big rucous! So, I just began to correct what I saw as a problem without saying anything to anybody. There's always someone higher up that wants to shine the spotlight on themselves to achieve a possible future promotion with a big pay raise.

    So, as to your question why is it taking so long for the U.S. to get the needed aid, supplies, and equipment to reach their goal? I feel as though it's because so many individuals want to make certain that their name (and the recognition for it) receives the credit.

    I've seen it personally throughout all the years of my service. Nothing ever changes. There's always someone higher up to stick out their chest, brag about what they did, and willing to accept the honors for what someone else accomplished. In event of catastrophies such as Haiti, it's absolutely disgusting, but so true.

    I began my federal career as a GS-4 and retired as a GS-5. Didn't get very far on the pay scale, but I can sleep with a clear consious when I go to bed.

    I could write a whole book about what goes on behind closed doors of the federal employees work place, but I won't waste either your time or mine because it would be wasting both.

    Hope I put some light on your question. Sorry for your frustration and feeling of helplessness.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  17. Jill

    I just have to say that your reporting of the medical situation is CRITICAL to raising the consciousness of our nation. President Obama, please listen to these reports and pull out the stops and fix this mess.

    There has to be some way to help get those supplies INTO that country from the dock. If Obama really wants to show the world what America is made of, and the goodness of this nations people, then something MUST be done to expidite this critical process.

    I think that the reporting of the medical issues is right on target! Sanjay, chin up, the home team is coming. Anderson, God Bless you for opening peoples eyes and not backing down on this. The two of you are doing God's work there, the voice of compassion, keep on the good road.

    Nobody should have to die or suffer uneccisarily because of fear, paperwork, logistics, etc. That is just plain unacceptable.

    We need to start writing our congressmen and the white house and just BUG them until they step in and do something. Now is the time to lead... now is the time for our change... let the voice of American sound it out, because the "strongest word is right!"

    January 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  18. Fred Michel

    You know, I really don't get it...militaries an reach the capital palace in less then 30 minutes in helicopters...but medication can't reach the general hospital which is next door...I don't get it.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  19. Summer

    What happen to all the money that was donated?

    Is it gone?

    January 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  20. Mista Chubbz

    Don't give up hope the Lord will make it work!

    January 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  21. Yolene

    We are all feeling the same way, hopeless and helpless. We have a group of at leat 25 nurses and ARNP, PA, MD that are ready and willing to go and help but we just don't know where to start. The organization that was taking us got scared when they heard report about violence, looting and raping going on and they dropped it. How can we help? What can we do? Where do we start?

    January 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  22. nancy

    if anderson and sanjay are there, doing things, and still feeling helpless, you can imagine how all of us, at home in our comfy homes, watching from afar feel. last night i was feeling so overwhelmed with guilt for not being able to do anything concrete other than send healing thoughts and money. this update brought some hope back.

    thank you,

    January 21, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  23. Cindy

    Looking forward to Sanjay's report on this terrible lack of supplies getting out to the people. I hope he did uncover why they aren't getting them out sooner. I'd hate to think they are just lolly gagging around while people die needlessly.


    January 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  24. bruno

    We all know that you are all doing your best to help.

    Do not despair, there is always hope.

    January 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  25. deborah brown

    I cant believe how those buildings were built with concrete were there any glass windows, and how are those people running around town with no shoes to protect there feet, I I am really upset about how the food and supplies are ot reaching these people they are human beings if we had a earth quake in california who will help us in our time of need they need better leadership among who is running this awful situation over there.

    January 21, 2010 at 3:44 pm |