Archive for Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lawrence nurse returns to Haiti along with One Heart Ministries International team to provide medical care to those in need

Karin Feltman, a Lawrence Memorial Hospital nurse, talks about her recent mission trip to Haiti and the mix of desolation and hope she saw there. The photos in the video are courtesy of Feltman.

February 2, 2011

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Karin Feltman and Emilie Durgan, two Lawrence women who recently went on a mission trip to Haiti, visited two orphanages while providing aid to the country. Many of the children still have living family members but were at the orphanage because their parents could no longer care for them.

Karin Feltman and Emilie Durgan, two Lawrence women who recently went on a mission trip to Haiti, visited two orphanages while providing aid to the country. Many of the children still have living family members but were at the orphanage because their parents could no longer care for them.

Lawrence women Feltman, Paula Westphal and Emilie Durgan were part of a mission team that provided 300 hot meals to children in Haiti. The two visited the country last month.

Lawrence women Feltman, Paula Westphal and Emilie Durgan were part of a mission team that provided 300 hot meals to children in Haiti. The two visited the country last month.

Above, Karin Feltman, a Lawrence Memorial Hospital nurse, performs an eye exam on a boy while serving in Haiti on a 10-day mission trip, one year after a devastating earthquake rocked the country.

Above, Karin Feltman, a Lawrence Memorial Hospital nurse, performs an eye exam on a boy while serving in Haiti on a 10-day mission trip, one year after a devastating earthquake rocked the country.

A strange mix of desolation and hope is how Lawrence nurse Karin Feltman described her recent visit to Haiti.

One year after providing medical aid in the aftermath of the country’s devastating earthquake, Feltman returned to the city of Port-au-Prince. This time she took with her fellow Lawrence resident 24-year-old Emilie Durgan and former Lawrence Memorial Hospital nurse and co-worker Paula Westphal.

“It is very different and very much the same as a year ago,” Feltman said.

While the rubble has been removed from roads, many of the country’s buildings remain in crumbled ruin. What last year were temporary tent cities built with sticks and sheets have become permanent communities cobbled together with tin, plywood and tarps.

Feltman’s return to Haiti was one in a long list of mission trips the former emergency room nurse has taken. However, new to the whirlwind experience was Durgan, a recent Kansas University graduate in international studies and psychology.

“Pretty intense is the best word I can think of,” Durgan said.

The group was part of a six-member team organized by One Heart Ministries International in Kansas City. The nurses provided medical care to hundreds while other team members filled prescriptions. The team visited tent cities, sharing information cards on cholera and pray pamphlets.

The women helped serve hot meals to more than 300 children and handed out enough dry food to feed 800 people for three days. At two of the city’s orphanages, they held babies, jumped rope, played soccer and let children braid their hair.

“I couldn’t understand what they were saying and I don’t know if they could understand what I was saying, but there was an emotional connection,” Durgan said of the work.

The trip wasn’t without danger. On the first day of clinic, a man running from police was gunned down just outside the building. Aid workers ducked below windows for safety.

While walking home from the compound one night, the team leader’s mother, who was Haitian, was attacked in what they believe was an attempted rape. An acquaintance chased away the attacker.

“It is just the reality right now. They live in a society that is survival of the fittest and not particularly safe,” Feltman said. “But in the midst of all that, we have lots of children and people that really want things to be better.”

With a mission trip already planned in March for Malawi in southeastern Africa, Feltman isn’t sure when she’ll return to Haiti. For Durgan, the experience has inspired her to provide aid in other areas of need such as New Orleans or Kenya.

“It was very rewarding despite everything else,” Durgan said.

Comments

Bob Forer 4 years, 5 months ago

I hope these folks don't try to steal any so-called "orphan" children for adoption.

Darrell Lea 4 years, 5 months ago

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Andrea Hoag 4 years, 5 months ago

Great work, ladies! Not many are willing to make the personal sacrifices you have, risking life and limb to bring healing to those in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. I'm guessing the work you've done will have long-term reverberations you can only guess at.

It sounds like there were a few scary moments, and it's heartening to think that return trips may be planned despite the lack of safety guarantees.

Ignore the naysayers--the world needs more people like you.

skinny 4 years, 5 months ago

Their time would have been better spent staying right here in Lawrence and taking care of the homeless children!!

ivalueamerica 4 years, 5 months ago

so you think you are able to judge what in need children are more important?

You shame all that is Good in humanity

She is a hero and you should be so lucky to have someone who lives in Kansas be so dedicated and caring to the world.

Are we not all God´s children, or in your eyes, are only those on certain sides of a border God´s children and the rest disposible?

pace 4 years, 5 months ago

Skinny, as a volunteer, I have had so many kind suggestions given to me. Direction on what I should do, how, whereI should lend a hand and I always say. You seem interested. You should do it. If for some reason your personality would make you ineffective in directly working with the homeless children in Lawrence, find something you can do to help. It is needed.

Good for the volunteers. sounds dangerous, I hate to think of all the children at risk in Haiti. I hope it stabilizes. There is so much left undone in Louisiana and Mississippi from Katrina. Many down there feel like there is no hope, and then the oil spill.

eramazon 4 years, 5 months ago

Hi all- Thank you for the comments and the concern for both my sister and the folks in need at home. Kim is in Chicago at Northwestern, doing well and being cared for by the nurses at that wonderful hospital. I also agree that there are so many people here in need, and I assure you I help with that as well (Family Promise, LINK, Health Care Access, Roger Hill Volunteer Center, Angel Tree, etc...). It's much easier to find volunteers to help close to home, though, so sometimes I'm called to go help in places that less people are free to roam. Thank you for the chance to clarify.

Karin Feltman

lhs79ku83 4 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for all you do, Karin. I went to Jr High and High School with your sister and am keeping up with her progress on her caringbridge site. I'm praying for her and will pray for you in Haiti also. I think you went to school with my younger brother as well.

akt2 4 years, 5 months ago

You go Karin. It's apparent that the hateful posters don't know any nurses. Otherwise they would know that a nurse's family is first and foremost. Then it is on to the next person that needs their care and compassion, and everyone in between. They are the ones that are available to help anywhere, anytime. This country, that country, the lake when your child falls in the campfire and is severely burned, and the nurse just happens to be a few campsites over, but heard the scream. Don't bother criticizing a nurse. It is a waste of your time.

greenworld 4 years, 5 months ago

Great Job once again Karin. I know that you and the other nurses are the healers of the world in so many ways and have been called by God for your services. You are all so blessed in so many ways. I decided to give you and your co-partners a name if thats alright. "FLYING ANGELS" Hope thats okay. I know you cant save them all only Christ could do that but if you save one you have created a miracle. Anyway peace always-Adam Kasson

Btw-If I were to ever win the lottery (50 million) -yeah right, your funding would be covered for the rest of your life to save people.

christy kennedy 4 years, 5 months ago

Hats off to all the nurses, doctors and all the folks who give their time to help those in need near and far. Thank you so much for what you do.

I vowed to stop reading comments under J-W articles weeks ago and am just naive enough to think there would surely just be remarks here from people who appreciate what Ms. Feltman and others do. Wow. I guess creeps need an outlet. It's pretty sorry to hear how some people think.

mammaweeks3 4 years, 5 months ago

As a fellow nurse, I am inspired by Karin. I have been able to see her in action at LMH and she is an amazing nurse, someone to look up to and model your career after. This is a great story and I loved the video. I can't wait to reach that point in my own career and life when I can help those in true devastation around the world as you do. I wish you luck with your upcoming travels to Malawi.

Alia Ahmed 4 years, 5 months ago

Thank you, Karin, for all you do for people far and away. You're the best!

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