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Health Center Today, November 10, 2010

Head of Emergency Medicine Returns from Latest Disaster Relief Mission

By Carolyn Pennington

Photo of Dr. Robert Fuller

Dr. Robert Fuller

Dr. Robert Fuller, head of emergency medicine at the Health Center, has just returned from an emergency response trip to St.Lucia after Hurricane Tomas caused severe damage throughout the island. Fuller, a physician-volunteer with the International Medical Corp (IMC), was deployed a week ago to run its emergency response effort after the hurricane damaged a local hospital.

Despite landslides that severely damaged roads and access to affected communities, the emergency response team helped deliver healthcare, water/sanitation and hygiene assistance to the more than 65,000 residents impacted by the disaster.

“The lack of running water is likely to continue for some time,” said Fuller. “Food supplies in many of the areas are also low. Our team is distributing food and water, in addition to blankets, clothing and tarps.”

International Medical Corps helped equip the St. Jude Hospital’s temporary facility, which serves an estimated 66,000, with donated medicine, supplies and critical equipment. The team has also been training hospital staff.

Fuller has taken part in several disaster relief efforts over the past several years. In another IMC mission, he was among the first physicians to arrive in Port-au-Prince following the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January. In 2004, he travelled to Indonesia after the tsunami that killed 300,000 people. Fuller also took a sabbatical from the Health Center last year to work in Ecuador. He provided his emergency medicine expertise in an inner-city hospital in the country’s biggest city, Guayaquil, whose patients are mostly the poor and underserved.