Saturday, January 30, 2010

Volunteers Get Right to Work Helping Haitians

It's the second work day for Project HOPE volunteer nurse Elizabeth Quinby on the USNS Comfort. The 25-year-old nurse from Massachusetts General Hospital begins her shift at 7 am and will end it at 7 pm, every day, seven days a week, for the next three weeks.

Elizabeth, called "Libby", is one of 30 Project HOPE medical volunteers who joined HOPE's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Harold Timboe and Dr. Larry Ronan to begin a three-week rotation aboard the USNS Comfort, a 1,000-bed floating hospital ship that arrived at Port-au Prince, Haiti, ten days ago.

Around 1000 patients and their family members are currently on the Comfort and cared for by a staff of 1,300 ship and medical personnel which include 32 HOPE volunteers.

Libby volunteered for the first rotation. "Our hospital let us go," she says. "They were incredible generous, providing the airline ticket and offered to continue to pay our salaries for the first two weeks on the ship." She says that going to Haiti to help the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck the country almost three weeks ago was nothing more or less than following "a call I felt this time."

Despite challenging working and living conditions on the Comfort, which include long working days with little breaks in-between and little privacy while trying to get some sleep at night, Libby, who works in the general adult medic. of her hospital, shows no signs of regret or exhaustion. "When you listen to the stories of the patients here on the ship things are quickly moved in perspective."

Libby takes care of 6 adult patients currently. "I think there will be more soon," she says. "Most of the Navy nurses take care of 10 patients in my ward. It's incredible. When we arrived the Navy medical staff welcomed us with open arms. I think they are very happy we are here to help them."

Story and photo by photo journalist and HOPE's volunteer public affairs officer, Astrid Riecken


  1. Libby ~ we are so proud of you, and what you are doing is completely amazing. Stay safe ...

    Hugs ~ Jeff & Cyndy

  2. Astrid, thanks for sharing and for the beautiful picture!

  3. Thank you so much for your service. We too on ELL7 are proud of you. Keep it up.

  4. What a wonderful article... I know it has got to be a very emotional time for all... just so glad you are there to give them, that are less fortunate, genuine care and love.....
    C. Carr/ Alabama

  5. Libby....I haven't even met you and I love you already. We are proud of you too.

    Aunt Doris and Uncle Bob Coates

  6. Libby - this story just made my day. Thank you.

  7. Libby - We're glad you're there to help. Stay cool and keep up the good work.

    Peace, Love, Dove,
    Deb and Clark

  8. Lib,
    We are every proud of you. Great thing you are doing... keep up the good work. You make us all very proud on PH 20. Be safe, see you soon.

  9. Thank you so much Libby for your help. Your presence there give the Haitian people hope.
    Take Care of yourself.

    God Blessing to Us All,