This evening I watched ‘The miracle Baby of Haiti’ which was showed by Channel 4 and covered the story of a London surgeon who returned to this country from Haiti with a baby who had been retrieved from the rubble of the Haitian earthquake in 2010.
I watched because I had recognised the surgeon involved, David Nott, who I worked with when I was at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. David Nott regularly volunteers to work in disaster areas across the world. He was, and obviously continues to be, an excellent surgeon and it is a credit to him, the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and the NHS that his skills are made available to those less fortunate than our selves.
However, as my teenage daughter pointed out the programme raised a great deal of questions. Landina was one of 300,000 victims of the earthquake – many who still lack the medical care they require. Not taking Landina would mean that she would not survive but taking her would separate her from her family and her culture. It can be easy to think that surgeons operate first then ask questions later but the programme showed how from the outset David Nott understood the consequences of his actions making a commitment to the future of Landina – but I suspect not what that really meant.
The bigger question is for those countries who promised to help Haiti. Time has passed since the earthquake and if the conditions are not good enough for Landina to return they are not good enough for those who cannot leave . Landina is not a miracle baby she is alive because of the skill, care and generosity of many – does Haiti need a miracle or just the care, skill and generosity of those who promised to help and who are able to help?