Sacred Heart Hospital in the north Haitian town of Milot was one of few hospitals in the country left largely unscathed by last year’s devastating earthquake. Immediately flooded with injured victims, the 75-bed hospital set up tent wards for an additional 150 patients while hundreds of medical volunteers arrived to help.
But the hospital’s aging electrical system wasn’t up to the task. With no municipal power, the whole campus runs off a diesel generator, which provided the amount of energy typically used by three American homes. The wiring was old and substandard.
“It was not uncommon to be in the middle of surgery and have someone run in and say the wires outside are on fire and they needed to shut down the generator,” said Tim Traynor, the hospital’s ground construction coordinator.
All that changed last month when a team of U.S. volunteers, largely from the Bay Area, spent two weeks rewiring the facility…
by Carolyn Said for the San Francisco Chronicle on February 22, 2011