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Home from Haiti
01/29/10 - 06:22 PM
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Mary Scott Speigner - bio
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click for larger image Panama City, Fla:

It’s being called the worst catastrophe to hit Haiti in 240 years.

A Panama City nurse journeyed to the earthquake ravaged island nation to help.  She spent 15 days giving injured Haitians medical care. Now she’s back home sharing her experience.

Friday, with hugs and cheers, Linda Butz’s work family welcomed her home from Haiti.  As she got her first taste of real food, stold stories that we can only imagine.

“We’re used to catastrophes but nothing of this magnitude.  It was so sad, so sad,” said Butz.

She’s on the medical assistance team for the federal government when she’s not at work in the ER at Gulf Coast Medical Center.  She’s prepared to be called out to disasters at a moments notice.  But this time it was different.

“When we were out traveling around on the town we saw bonfires and we didn’t know what they were ... They were actually burning bodies,” she said.

She was there just a few days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook Haiti and claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.  She was there for those who survived.

“We were working 12, 14, 16 hour days whatever we had to do and people were lining up 200 and 300 everyday.  Our team personally saw 2000 patients in 14 days.  At first we were at the American Embassy and we had commandeered one of their conference rooms and turned it into an emergency room and were actually doing surgery in the closet,” she said.

She says what really sticks out in her mind is the children.

“We found a little boy 7 years old.  They told us later he had been there four or five days scrounging food.  So we gave him some fluids gave him some MREs he perked right up he was just a beautiful child…we all wanted to bring him home,”

The orphaned boy needed a home.  Linda says just a few days later, a visiting congressman stopped by their tent and noticed him.

“The next day he had that child adopted,” she said.

With no bathrooms and only army rations to eat, she says it wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it.

“You feel bad about leaving because you just want to help everybody and you just can’t there’s too many,” she said.

The hospital is giving her a long weekend, but she’s back to work on Tuesday.  She says she can’t wait to get a steak dinner and a bubble bath.

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