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Coralie Mevs

Neurosurgeon: Barth A. Green, M.D.

Dr. Barth Green and his team have been focused on improving healthcare in poverty-stricken Haiti through Project Medishare since 1994, but they have also established deep relationships with the Haitian people as a result of their efforts. Dr. Marguerite Mevs, a local pediatrician, and her family have been involved in assisting Dr. Barth Green for years. The Mevs family recently hosted a fundraising event for Dr. Green and his team in Port-au-Prince in December 2009. “Dr. Green is like part of our family when he comes to Port-au-Prince, my brother throws him a dinner and he has even stayed at my sister’s house,” said Dr. Mevs.

The friendship established between the Mevs family and Dr. Green became a life saving connection during the 7.0 earthquake that ravaged Haiti on Tuesday, January 12, 2010.

Coralie Mevs, a 24-year-old college student and daughter of Dr. Mevs, was eating a late lunch in a fourth floor restaurant at the Hotel Montana with her cousin when the ground began to tremble. Coralie was impacted from the left side with metal and cement pilings. She lay with her legs twisted above her head, falling in and out of consciousness for the next hour.

“After the earthquake I took my shoes off and ran five miles climbing over cement, fallen buildings and cars until I got to the Hotel Montana,” said Dr. Mevs. Coralie had already been pulled out of the rubble by the family driver when Dr. Mevs reached the hotel. She concluded that Coralie had both back and neck problems, but was not severely injured. Knowing that there was no immediate means to transport Coralie to a medical facility, Dr. Mevs stabilized her daughter and then began to pull others from the collapsed hotel.

Coralie’s condition steadily began to digress over the next hour. “My eyes were like two bicycles, I was vomiting and bleeding from the right eye,” said Coralie. During this time, Dr. Mevs’ son-in-law, who was with them at the hotel, received a call from Dr. Green. He began to describe Coralie’s condition to Dr. Green, who immediately diagnosed her over the phone, “She is having a head trauma. Tell her to sit up at a 45 degree angle and give her a diarectic”.

“Dr. Green was a life saver. He started helping us before he even got here,” said Dr. Mevs.

The next morning, Coralie was transported to the UM/Medishare tent hospital. Dr. Green arrived and confirmed Coralie’s original diagnoses of head trauma and a fractured spine. He told Dr. Mevs, “She(Coralie) has to be medevaced. She has to go to Jackson”.

They had to wait another 18 hours before Coralie could be transported to Miami. It was a risk to delay surgery, but Dr. Green sat with Coralie the entire night, stabilizing her neck and making sure she was conscious. The following morning, January 14, 2010, Coralie was flown to Jackson Hospital where she received a total body scan and was diagnosed with four types of trauma. The most prevalent being a moderate head injury with epidural hematoma on the left. It had grown by 30% over three days, was causing headaches and a mass effect on the brain and needed to be removed. She received fractures of dorsal spines C5 C6 C7 in cervical spine and fractures of lumbar transverse processes of L2 L3 L4. She also had a blowout fracture of right orbital floor. Coralie received surgery for her head injury from Dr. Ross Bullock, University of Miami Professor of Clinical Neurosurgery.

“She is only one of the three people treated for severe head trauma from Haiti that has survived. If Dr. Green had not diagnosed her over the phone and she would have bleed for another 20 minutes, she wouldn’t be here,” said Dr. Bullock.

“When I see the quality of care she received at Jackson, I knew we made the right decision in bringing her here. I am so thankful for Dr. Green and Dr. Bullock. You can see that they really care. We were blessed the whole way.”