U.S. Senator Bill Nelson Fights for Funding for Hospital in Haiti

In a visit to the Ryder Trauma Center on Friday, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson vowed to continue his efforts to secure funds for the critical care and rehabilitation hospital the Global Institute and Project Medishare established in Port-au-Prince after Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

Originally located in four tents at the edge of the airport, the hospital moved to an existing community hospital in June and continues to serve as a vital critical care and rehabilitation hospital as well as a training center for local physicians, nurses and allied health professionals eager to fill the large gaps in Haiti’s shattered health care system.

Barth Green, M.D., professor and chair of neurological surgery who co-founded Project Medishare to improve health care access in Haiti, said Project Medishare is counting on a $17.7 million federal grant to operate the hospital over the next 18 months and help Haiti build a sustainable health care system. Nelson, Florida’s senior senator, wrote a letter urging the U.S. State Department to direct a portion of the Haiti relief funding in the 2010 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act to the hospital.

“My compliments to all of you,’‘ Senator Nelson told Dr. Green, Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and Enrique Ginzburg, M.D., professor of surgery, during his visit. “What you’ve done is heroic and it’s in the best tradition of America. I will continue to be your advocate.’‘

During his visit, Senator Nelson also witnessed firsthand the capabilities of the mobile Remote Presence RP-7 robot, which through wireless communication is allowing physicians at the hospital in Haiti to consult with specialists at the Ryder Trauma Center. Donning a mask and yellow gown, the senator also visited briefly with a Haitian patient who, more than seven months after barely surviving the earthquake, just improved enough to leave the ICU.

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