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Haitian Hospital Takes on New Look Fortnight After Quake

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Tents are being erected in the yard and flags outside announce the organisation working within each tent, where doctors are busily but skillfully treating quake victims.

This is the promising picture of the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where just two weeks ago groaning survivors, hundreds of bodies and piles of rubble were scattered in the wake of the 7.3-magnitude quake that struck Haiti on January 12.

James Garret, a doctor from the United States, said medical workers from all corners of the world were coordinating and cooperating in treating patients around the clock. "We, despite different nationalities, are a unified group with the same aim of curing quake victims."

A doctor from Israel said medical staffers had been treating hundreds, sometimes more than 1,000 patients in the hospital every day over the past week.

Many were injured in the quake and suffering secondary infection. Some of them would need amputations.

There are about 10 US soldiers on guard at the hospital gate. Everyone who wants to go in has to go through identity checks.

There are no violent conflicts around the hospital, but trivial spats and fighting are quite common.

Quake victims keep arriving at the hospital, which has gathered some of the best medical equipment and staff in Haiti.

The tents-turned-wards, each of which can hold hundreds of patients, are now surrounded by a peaceful atmosphere, and most patients, accompanied by carers, have a tranquil expression on their faces, although many of them have undergone amputation.

Monise, a good-looking teenage girl who suffered injuries to her face and back, returned a genial smile after reporters told her in Creole that she was beautiful.

While at the other end of the ward, a woman, whose face was contorted with pain, shouted at her lover, who was holding her hand: "It's unbearable. Save me my love, save me." The woman lost her left leg in the catastrophe.

More patients are expected to reach the hospital in the near future. They will be treated for their physical injuries but recovering from psychological and mental harm will also be a serious challenge for them. Still, the hospital gives them a new beginning and hope.

(Xinhua News Agency January 27, 2010)

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