Vicksburg doctor to lead medical team to island

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vicksburg physician Daniel Edney received the call he’d expected and will lead a 10-person medical team to help aid earthquake victims in Haiti.

Edney, a primary care doctor at Medical Associates of Vicksburg, received word Tuesday from Mississippi Baptist Disaster Response in Jackson to be ready to go as soon as Saturday.

“The assessment I’m told is that it’s as bad as what we’re hearing,” he said Tuesday, before this morning’s 6.1 aftershock sent new fears and rumbles through the island nation. On Jan. 12, a magnitude-7.0 earthquake shook the country of Haiti, where national reports estimated nearly 200,000 people were killed and more left injured.

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Edney, trained and certified in major disaster relief with the American Medical Association, went to Indonesia in 2004 after the Christmas tsunami and to Lebanon in 2007. He also led a medical team on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“The big thing with disaster work is to be flexible,” he said. “We have to stay flexible because it’s a fluid situation.”

Traveling with him will be other Mississippi doctors and nurses, as well as a support team. No names were available, but he said people have volunteered.

“In Indonesia, we would set up in the middle of a field,” he recalled. “We were very compact and very mobile. There was a good clinic in the back of a truck. Our teams are designed to get into the field and take care of as many people as we can.”

Once he and his team arrive in Port-au-Prince, capital of the island nation, they will work in the field, much like the mission spent in Indonesia.

As for aid efforts in Haiti, he said the main medical supplies that are in need are antibiotics and pain medicine.

Edney, who has been on stand-by status with MBDR since the quake hit eight days ago, said he has kept himself prepared.

Nonetheless, he said, “Until you get in that situation and see people who are hurt and sick, there’s no way for someone to prepare for that. I have an image in my mind and the expectation of it. To me, when I have sympathy and love for the people, that drives me to work a long, hard day.”

For now, he said it is expected he will work in Haiti for two weeks, and then another team of medical specialists will rotate in.

“The most important thing is to pray for the people there and the people going down there to help,” he said. “Second is to give financially. So many organizations need help financially.”

He said any monetary donations given to the disaster response will all go toward relief efforts.

The disaster response is an arm of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, which makes up part of the Southern Baptist Convention based in Augusta, Ga. Leaders of the MBDR have been in Haiti since Monday assessing damages and strategically planning for incoming aid. The organization works in conjunction with the American Red Cross.


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at