Utahns forced to cancel medical services trip to Haiti after Hurricane Sandy

By Cristina Rendon

Published 10/26 2012 10:23PM

Updated 10/27 2012 04:09PM

OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Dozens of people scheduled to travel to Haiti for relief efforts had to put their trip on hold due to the devastation after Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean country.

Doctor Tom Wood and Doctor Joel Porter were scheduled to be in Haiti by Friday with their teenage daughters, Sabrina Wood, 16, and Emily Porter, 18.

“I was anxious to go down there and see some of the people in the past that we’ve treated and see how they’re doing,” Dr. Tom Wood said.

The Haiti Health Initiative sends groups of doctors and support staff twice a year for dental, medical, agricultural and water services.

“Getting there is difficult,” Joel Porter said. “Getting out in a hurricane is much more difficult.”

The teenage girls were disappointed their trip was canceled. It would have been the first time the teens traveled to Haiti.

“I was kind of upset at first, but it’s hard to be mad when those people are going through so much,” Sabrina said.

Emily Porter saved up roughly $1,500 throughout the summer for the trip. Each person is responsible for paying their own way.

“Freeing myself for ten days and serving the people was my goal,” she said.

The group said 14 people provided dental work to hundreds of Haitians this week right up until Hurricane Sandy made landfall.

“They were quite frightened,” Porter said. “They could feel the house at some point start to slide.”

Everything, including the group's medical unit and equipment, was destroyed.

The group was also scheduled to take 25 luggages filled with supplies and hygiene kits for Haitians. They were going to take things like medications, inhalers and even a custom made shoe for a patient.

“I just wish we could be there to help.”

Wood and Porter said Haitians are resilient and will make it through this disaster. They hope to make it to Haiti on the group’s next trip in March 2013.

“Our prayers go out to them and we hope for the best for them,” Wood added.

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