Daniel Catullo in Haiti
Thank you very much to every David Archuleta fan that has donated so far to the charity relief “Plane to Haiti” We have received an update from the Founder Dan Catullo. It is not easy to read, it is heartbreaking to say the least but it is reality. Many of us have already donated and are “tapped out” and we ask if a $10.00 donation can really make a difference. Please know that it does, every dollar counts! When we work together, we truly can help our neighbor in need.
CONTINUE BELOW TO READ MORE OF THIS STORY AND SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE PLANE “ON THE GROUND” IN HAITI.
Haiti was insanely touching and the most touching thing I have ever been a part of. It was also one of the most frustrating things I have ever experienced. What you see on the news isn’t exactly accurate.
Before we left, we were getting all of our information by watching the news. We saw tons of footage of chaos, dead bodies everywhere and people looting stores and supply areas.
When we arrived, it was not like that at all.
The destruction was beyond belief trust me. Buildings were in pieces and the entire infrastructure of the Country is gone. It seemed very unorganized and no one knew who reported to whom. Even our military who was based at the airport had no clue what they were doing there.
On the news there are pleas for Doctors and Nurses. We brought down 12 Doctors and Nurses on the first plane and an additional 15 on the 2nd. When they got there and went to University Hospital they were turned away, told that they were not needed and were not “Federalized”. Even though there are thousands of people dying each day and thousands waiting in line for medical help at these hospitals, they did not want our medical supplies or help from our Doctors. It was unreal.
When we arrived we camped out at the airport. The next morning Scott Stapp arrived with his own car (he bought one in Dominican Republic and drove himself into Haiti), a large bus and a convoy of cars. He assembled a team of locals who knew where help was needed the most. One of them was a local Minister who was really respected in the community.
Since the hospitals did not take our supplies or Doctors, we decided to go with Stapp and the local team outside of the airport to villages to bring help to these people.
We convoyed to Leogane, where the epicenter was about a 2 1/2 hour drive. It was beyond devastating there. We were the FIRST people to go there and this was 15 days after the earthquake! Not one relief mission, military force, UN group, NGO, etc was there before us and this is where the most devastation was. Everybody was scared to go there and even though we have tons of military troops on the ground and the airport is overflowing with supplies, none of it is getting to these people.
We set up our own mini hospital/ triage unit in a village. People scurried out of bushes and came from everywhere when word spread that finally help was there and we had doctors. It was mind-boggling. They kept lining up. We treated over 600 patients at that location in 6 hours with 2 Doctors, 3 Nurses and 6 volunteers. It was heart breaking. We saw horrible infections and some massive injuries. We ended up evacuating some people and bringing them back with us to the airport to the University of Miami Medical Center tent. Our evacuations included a 6 year old girl with a crushed finger that needed to get amputated, a 6 year old girl with Tetanus ( she ended up dying later that night), a 3 month old girl with a skull fracture, a 12 year old boy with a bad leg infection, etc.. It was like the Apocalypse. We couldn’t believe how many people had such serious injuries and were unattended to for over 2 weeks.
We never felt threatened at all. They were all polite and patient, even though they had no food, clean water and were in pain. They waited in line to see us and were all emotional that we came. Very touching.
We will all never forget the smell. They were burning their garbage, that included plastic and rubber. It was horrific. Masks didn’t help and we all ended up getting sick from inhaling the fumes for 3 days. I am still coughing up black chunks from the smoke.
The system is broken down there and they need LOTS of help. There is no system to distribute any of the relief supplies that were donated and the NGO’s are overwhelmed. The people are desperate and need help NOW. Everything just sits there while people die. The hospitals are overwhelmed and US hospitals who have gone to help such as the University of Miami Medical Center, have great set ups, but run their hospital like it is a normal day in Miami and an HMO controls them. They would shut down to rest or felt too crowded and turn critical patients away (including the 3 month old girl with the skull fracture), even though people were dying across the street and they had tons of nurses and doctors standing around. We started grabbing all these people and bringing them to our tent city and treated them around the clock.
We found it fascinating that even though time is of the essence and people are dying every minute, they all closed at night for new patients. We treated people 24/7. We turned no one away and worked until we were ready to drop dead. The red tape and politics in place there is so messed up. It seriously is like our US insurance companies are running the show. We met several people (filmed them all) who walked 15 miles over 3 days critically injured to get medical treatment, only to be turned away because the staff needed “rest” or they were “over crowded”, even though the staff we spoke to wanted to take them. The head doctor turned them away and then when we grabbed the patients, he tried to stop us because we weren’t “official”. He said they should go home and come back in 1-2 days when it is slower! It was mind boggling.
Why is it that a group of musicians, led by me a DVD producer & director were more effective than our government and major medical companies? In 3 days we treated over 1,000 people, saved at least 100 lives, administered tons of antibiotics, distributed thousands of pounds of food and water, etc.. We became the “Robin Hood” gang of the airport base. After we saw that the supplies were not being distributed and were sitting there for days, including 1000’s of cases of water from the UN and tons of meals from the Indian Army, we took it all and brought it to the people. Never once did they riot or get out of hand. I think the way food is being distributed by the Army and UN is sad. They throw the food at them from the back of a truck. That is why they act like animals. Treat them like animals and people will act that way. Hand them the food like humans and they are all gentle and beautiful people.
We cried everyday and all want to go back now. We want to raise more money and go down immediately (within the next 1-2 weeks). People are dying from wounds as simple as a cut on their leg because no one is even giving them band aids and antibiotics. I can not believe it.
Everybody from The Wheelchair Foundation and Medshare were absolutely amazing. Scott Stapp, his sister Dr Janette Nesheiwat and her brother Daniel Nesheiwat were UNBELIEVABLE. True heroes and really rose to the occasion. It was a trip I will never forget and the first of many down there.
Daniel E. Catullo III
DC3 Music Group, LLC
SOURCE: Archuleta Fan Scene