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N.L. volunteer doctors wait anxiously to help in Haiti as violence rages

Dr. Art Rideout, CEO of Team Broken Earth, says he has made as many as 20 trips to aid Haiti over the years since the 2010 earthquake. He is waiting until it's safe enough to travel to Haiti. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
Dr. Art Rideout, CEO of Team Broken Earth, says he has made as many as 20 trips to aid Haiti over the years since the 2010 earthquake. He is waiting until it's safe enough to travel to Haiti. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
Dr. Art Rideout, CEO of Team Broken Earth, says he has made as many as 20 trips to aid Haiti over the years since the 2010 earthquake. He is waiting until it's safe enough to travel to Haiti.
Dr. Art Rideout, CEO of Team Broken Earth, says he has made as many as 20 trips to aid Haiti over the years since the 2010 earthquake. He is waiting until it's safe enough to travel to Haiti.

Dr. Art Rideout, CEO of Team Broken Earth, says he has made as many as 20 trips to aid Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. He is waiting until it's safe enough to travel to Haiti. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Medical professionals from Newfoundland and Labrador are closely monitoring Haiti and waiting until it's safe enough to fly in and help, says St. John's doctor Art Rideout.

Chaos reigns in Haiti as gangs have forced the prime minister to resign, burning police stations and releasing thousands of prisoners. Rideout says he's worried about his friends and colleagues who are trapped on the island.

"For us, to be able to deliver what we do best, it involves a level of security for not just the people on the ground, but our volunteers too," Rideout said.

"So we're patiently waiting for the world to come together again to help and assist those in Haiti so that we can do what we do best."

Rideout says he's taken at least 20 trips to Haiti as part of the organization he helped found. He's currently the CEO of Team Broken Earth.

The organization is made up of volunteering doctors, nurses and other medical care providers, and was founded in 2010 when Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake.

Even though they can't assist on the ground at the moment, the organization is raising funds through a concert called Music Is Medicine (the 3rd) at Holy Heart Theater in St. John's on March 23.

"You get to see the hidden talents of our medical professionals and people connected to medicine," Rideout said.

The funds will go to support medical care in Haiti, he says.

He's heard recently from his contacts on the ground in a hospital located in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, about the unending violence, which is just one challenge the local staff has to deal with, along with limited medical supplies, clean water, food, and other rampant diseases like cholera.

The news has left the team waiting anxiously until it's secure enough to help.

"They're just another island in the Atlantic. And I think that's that shared responsibility of helping each other," he said.

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