Feature BMJ Group Awards

Medical Team in a Crisis Zone: Medical responses to a clear and present danger

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d2719 (Published 04 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d2719
  1. Sabreena Malik, clinical community editor
  1. 1BMJ, London WC1H 9JR, UK
  1. smalik{at}bmj.com

In picking a medical team that has had exceptional impact in a humanitarian crisis, conflict, or natural disaster, we encountered a wide spectrum of talented teams and individuals who work against considerable odds to help some of the earth’s most afflicted people. Out of 25 entries for this new BMJ Group Awards category, three finalists were selected for consideration by the judges: John Heyworth, president of the College of Emergency Medicine; Jonathan Kaplan, surgeon and writer with considerable experience in conflict and catastrophe medicine; and Peter Moszynski, BMJ’s African news correspondent and a former aid worker. Two of the finalists were chosen for their efforts after the 2010 earthquake that devastated massive areas of Haiti, and the other for its effort during the 2008 floods that inundated hundreds of villages in Bihar, India.

Médecins Sans Frontières, Haiti earthquake 2010

At 16.45 on 12 January 2010 the walls of Médecins Sans Frontières’ busy 24 hour emergency obstetric hospital in Port-au-Prince, Maternité Solidarité, began to shake. Within minutes survivors, many with life threatening injuries, started arriving. Five of the hospital’s 209 staff died in the quake, but putting aside worries about their families and homes, the team got on with saving lives.

They formed a …

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