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Press Releases

Holy Name Hospital Donates Oxygen Processor To Haitian Hospital
Holy Name President/CEO Traveling to Haiti

Date: 3/4/2010

Through donations from Holy Name Hospital, its employees, Bergen Anesthesia Associates, and a collaborative effort between Burn Advocates, Oxygen Generating Systems International (OGSI), and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, a life-saving oxygen processor has been donated to the Hopital Sacre Coeur in earthquake-torn Haiti.

"As an organization, Holy Name takes on challenges and the earthquake in Haiti truly presented a fascinating series of events," says Michael Maron, president/chief executive officer of Holy Name Hospital. "The donation of the oxygen processor demonstrates one of the many values of Holy Name—selflessness. But our commitment goes beyond the material gift. Drs. Finley and Gwertzman and I will be traveling to the Hopital Sacre Coeur next week to oversee the installation of the oxygen processor."

Alan Gwertzman, M.D., chief of anesthesia services at Holy Name, explains that the processor will create and sustain enough oxygen to service the hospital's patient population. "The oxygen processor will save thousands of lives," said Dr. Gwertzman who spoke of the many lives that were lost at the Hopital Sacre Coeur due to the lack of basic medical equipment, including oxygen.

"This donation illustrates Holy Name's mission of compassionate care to all," explains Dr. Gwertzman. "To fulfill that mission, the hospital went beyond Bergen County, beyond New Jersey and beyond the United States."

Holy Name's David Butler, M.D. obstetrician/gynecologist and anesthesiologists Timothy Finley, M.D. and Dr. Gwertzman recently returned from a humanitarian medical mission in Haiti on behalf of the Center for the Rural Development of Milot (CRUDEM) Foundation. During 10 days at the Hopital Sacre Coeur, which is located about 65 miles north of Port Au Prince in Milot, the physicians made a tremendous impact, converting a 66-bed hospital into a trauma center treating more than 420 patients—mostly amputations—and expanding from two operating rooms into six.

"I lost more patients in my first week in Haiti," says Dr. Gwertzman, "than I have in the past 20 years of my medical career." He explains it was not a result of error or even the severity of injury but the unavailability of basic medical resources like oxygen and ventilators. "This truly was a perfect storm," he says. "A beautiful story that you could not script, telling the tale of a collaborative effort from groups all across the globe."

"The commitment to provide medical care in Haiti is long term," explains Dr. Finley, who has been on seven missions already in Haiti. "Holy Name Hospital and the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Peace continually lend support." There are three Sisters based out of Haiti— a midwife, an English-as-a-Second-Language teacher and a provider of spiritual guidance and ministry.

"We seized the mission to rebuild this hospital," says Dr. Finley, who had been on seven previous missions to Haiti. However, he says that never has it been as "chaotic" as this. "Dr. Gwertzman and I took charge and decided to run it like Holy Name by collectively creating an effective system to manage the operating rooms."

The doctors explained that six operating rooms had only three anesthesia machines and one ventilator between them. According to Dr. Butler, the majority of the earthquake victims have been treated for their immediate, acute injuries. "This creates a new set of challenges," states Dr. Butler, vice president of the CRUDEM Foundation. "We must be sure that these patients receive the follow-up care that is needed."

While in Haiti, the doctors witnessed colleagues doing extraordinary things. "I was proud to be an American, proud to be a physician, and proud to be a Holy Name physician," declares Dr. Gwertzman. The physicians spoke of an already impoverished country rising to the occasion, the outpouring of love and camaraderie of physicians, and the selfless acts of kindness. "We gave a lot," notes Dr. Gwertzman. "But the special magic, the positive message and spirituality that we got back from the people of Haiti has been a life-altering experience."

In addition to the oxygen processor, Holy Name and Bergen Anesthesia have donated medical supplies for both pediatric and adult patients including anesthesia supplies, pain medications, and antibiotics.

"It is so important to have a giving heart every day," explains Dr. Finley. "Every day I think about what I can do to make the world a better place."

Alan Gwertzman, M.D., anesthesiologist and chief of anesthesia services at Holy Name Hospital, Timothy Finley, M.D., Holy Name anesthesiologist and David Butler, M.D., Holy Name obstetrician and gynecologist and vice president of the CRUDEM Foundation featured with the oxygen processor in background.