[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
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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