Retired Air Force physician Col. Tom McKnight, now a member of the Air Force Reserves, drove all day in the rain from Eglin Air Force Base in Florida’s Panhandle with more than 2,500 pounds of medical supplies. McKnight, a veteran of other medical missions to Haiti, said he was headed for a remote area near Port au Prince that has many injured people but has not yet received much medical help due to its location.
McKnight’s supplies included IV starter kits and fluids, which he said are essential for injured people who are certainly dehydrated. He also brought equipment necessary for an unpleasant reality of the earthquake’s aftermath, “We need all these supplies because we’ll have to do amputations down there,” said McKnight.
The heavy duffel bags of medical supplies also included scalpels, sutures, surgical masks and gowns, antibiotics, splints, heavy bandages, drain tubes, table dressings and everything else needed by a small team of physicians to set up a makeshift operating room.
McKnight also packed some bags of an important accessory that less experienced relief workers might not think of. “A piece of candy puts a smile on a kid’s face no matter where they’re from,” said McKnight.