East Syracuse doctor to travel to Haiti next month

Public support crucial, visit crudem.org to donate

Dr. Michael Fitzgerald travels to Haiti regularly. His next scheduled trip to the disaster-stricken country is Thursday Feb. 4, where he will provide medical attention to patients in a 73-bed hospital located 75 miles north from the capital, Port au Prince. The town of Milot was not affected by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, Fitzgerald said, but it has become a staging hospital for victims of the Jan. 12 devastation.

Hopital Sacre Coeur, the largest private hospital in northern Haiti, is run by CRUDEM Foundation, or Center for the Rural Development of Milot. The foundation is a branch of the Order of Malta, an ancient religious Catholic Order that dates back to around the year 1048.

"We are still in need of antibiotics and insulin," said Fitzgerald, who credited CRUDEM and the US Navy for providing some of those necessities. Pain medications and anesthetics are also on demand. "The public could help supply money," he said.

The best way to donate funds, Fitzgerald said, is to visit crudem.org. There, people can not only give money through a series of simple clicks, but also find information on the hospital that which Fitzgerald has been affiliated for the last six years.

"I've never worked in a disaster area," he said, but added that, "Haiti to start with is sort of a disaster."

Typically, Fitzgerald stays in Haiti seven days at a time. Ongoing weekly visits occur throughout the year with different groups of physicians from across the nation. Most are internists, he said, but others who come include plastic surgeons and gynocologists. Fitzgerald specializes in gastroenterology; he has offices in East Syracuse, Fayetteville, Liverpool and Syracuse. Next week, he is traveling with Dr. Robert Dracker, a pediatrician whose office is based in Liverpool.

"They're great people," Fitzgerald said of the Haitians. "Very proud people. They insist on paying you."

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