February 9th, 2010
09:34 PM ET

Returning to Haiti. Tipping the scales of faith.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/09/guptahaitihospital.jpg caption="Dr. Sanjay Gupta in Port-Au-Prince hospital."]

Dr. Sanjay Gupta | BIO
AC360° Contributor
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

When I told my wife I wanted to go back to Haiti, she had the reaction I expected. “The girls really missed you when you were gone last time,” she said. “I am worried that you lost too much weight down there,” she added. And, “what about your safety, physical and mental well being?” she concluded. They were all the reactions I expected. The car was then silent as we were driving through our neighborhood on a rainy Saturday morning. In that quiet, we both realized something essential. I knew she was right, on all counts. And, still, she knew it was the right thing to do. She was the first to speak and break the silence. “Truth is, I would go with you,” she whispered. “I would like to help as well.”

I thought about that conversation a lot on the middle-of-the-night flight to Florida, a connection to Santa Domingo at 3 a.m. and then finally the early morning arrival in Port-au-Prince. She has seen the images on television of the unfathomable suffering over the last month, and she was affected by it in more ways that I realized. Over the few days I was home, we hardly talked about what I had seen in Haiti. I felt the need to protect her from those stories, some of which I may never share with anyone – and she was cognizant of the desire to not re open the emotional images. She also knew that while I was physically home, my mind never left Haiti.

Most of the time I was in Haiti, I was a doctor. With the cameras off, I saw patient after patient, most of them with head injuries and with no access to a neurosurgeon. Many of them needed reassurance, and a few needed emergent operations. As a reporter, I was able to help highlight the stark difference between most international aid, and medical aid. In short, the requirement for medical aid was immediate –measured literally in minutes and hours. If action wasn’t taken, and quickly, people would die that could’ve been saved. As a father, I held a lot of small hands and offered a soothing voice, to children whose parents had been lost.

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Filed under: Dr. Sanjay Gupta • Haiti • Haiti Earthquake
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Kerry-Ann

    Dr Sanjay thank you and AC for going back, I live in the UK and all the news here forget about the people of Haiti.
    it seems like everyone has started forgetting the people of Haiti, you don't hear much any more about what is going on the ground.
    i pray for the people every day and I know God will deliver them.
    You and AC deserved a medal just for caring, i never met you both but i feel like i am friends with you both.
    god Bless and keep you both.

    February 9, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  2. Margaret

    HI Sanjay-

    I too, wish to say Thank you for seeing the need and making the sacrifice of leaving the safety of your family to be a much needed voice and medical expert for people who do not have one. You efforts are appreciated by folks like me.

    February 9, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
  3. Wayne

    Dr. Gupta and Mr. Cooper,

    I am an American citizen living in the Dominican Republic. I am married to a Haitian. I have been to Haiti since the earthquake, to find and bring my in-laws here to DR as they are relatively eldery. My brother-in-law continues to live and work in Petionville. My point is I understand. My message to you and Anderson Cooper is simple: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are doing something great here. Few people, even those with your kind of extraordinary life, ever get to make such a profound difference for so many. And that is what you do every time you two guys turn on your cameras and start talking. You are saving lives; at that moment, tomorrow and far into the future. You are saving lives. Stick with it man. We see you. And we won't forget what you have done.

    February 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  4. gwensadler123

    Dr Gupta:

    This article brought tears to my eyes. I know this is difficult for you and your family. May you continue to draw from you inner strength and God.

    God Bless You And Your Family.

    February 9, 2010 at 2:31 pm |

    Dr Sanjay,

    I wrote to Anderson earlier and forgot to thank you to for doing such a remarkable job. You to like Anderson is one of a kind.You have done a wonderful job on keeping us in touch with what has been happening in Haiti .it is heartwrenching to see those photographs.
    I am also happy that u both decided to return because we need to be reminded of what is taking place with the government.Please keep them in line by brodcasting the nasty things they do to their people like selling the food that was sent for them to them,and Sanjay i know you will continue to administer that gentle caring touch to those beautiful children as well as any one that needs it there. May God continue to strenghten you with courage,strenghth, and good sound judment to continue to do what u do>

    February 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  6. Mikkey

    I know it's not an easy thing to do leaving your wife and especially your girls behind, but thank you for everything you are doing in Haiti., you are amazing. Thank you both soo much

    February 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  7. Wendy

    So glad you have returned to Haiti .. cannot wait to see your reports ... I watch CNN constantly to find out whats happening to those poor people. When you & Anderson Cooper left ... it seemed liked Haiti was forgotten on all news channels. I'm back watching CNN now. Please take care of each other. You are wonderful men!!!

    February 9, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  8. john Laforme

    I am glad you decided to return to Haiti They really need you I seen what you did to get medical supplies to one hospital and heard that you were called on to do a brain surgery on a child on the hospital ship.

    February 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  9. Victoria Alameda

    Dr Gupta,

    Please take care of yourself. I know your heart is with the people of Haiti. God Bless you for the work you are doing there. Just don't get sick doing it. Being a first responder at one time. I know the trauma of seeing things and wanting to protect those you love from the stark terror of it. Please know my prayers are with you .

    February 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  10. Guerly L

    Dear Sanjay,
    All I can say is thank you. Reading this piece brought tears to my eyes. May God Bless you and strenght your faith in the mist of all this.
    GL, Boston, Ma

    February 9, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  11. Susan Ford Keller

    Dr Gupta, it is monumental that you went to Haiti and now you return to Haiti. When your energy and spirit are flagging, remember you bear witness to the events as well as participate, but you will leave eventually. The people in Haiti will remain there, their lives irretrievably changed for the worse for the long term.

    February 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  12. Kimberly M., Hiram, OH

    I'm certain it cannot be easy to leave your family behind, but thank you so much for going back to Haiti. It is far to easy to forget what people are going through when it is not in the news on a daily basis. The work you and everyone from CNN have done in Haiti–whether it be on camera or off– is truly remarkable. Please continue the great work.

    February 9, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  13. Cindy

    Thank you Sanjay for caring enough to go back when most people have unfortunately moved on. I am glad that you want to keep these peoples plights in our minds so that we don't move on and forget that they are still in dire straights and need a lot of help.

    I am sure seeing all that you did really hurt you in more ways than one and even made you question God as to why it had to happen. But in truth it's times like this that people need Him the most. Only He can and will give these people the strength and courage to go on. And He will give that to you also.


    February 9, 2010 at 11:47 am |

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