October 20, 2005: A twelve-member Canadian Medical Assistance Team’ (CMAT) will deploy on Friday, October 21, 2005 from Pearson International Airport in Toronto leaving on Pakistan International Airlines flight to Islamabad at 1700hrs (Toronto time). The team will work alongside members of the Rotary Club of Islamabad and Rawalpindi to deliver emergency medical relief to quake victims in Pakistan’s northeast as well as assist and support medical staff at hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi that have been deluged with quake victims airlifted from the field.
‘There are hundreds of critically ill patients with major trauma lined up in hospital hallways,’ said David Deines, paramedic and CMAT Team leader, via satellite phone on Wednesday.. ‘Over 120 major operations are being performed daily by exhausted medical staff.’ Team members departing on Friday include: Dr. Yasser Khan (Plastic surgeon/ophthalmology – Toronto), Dr. Monika Dutt (physician, Toronto), Dr. Basser Khan (surgeon, Toronto), Dr. Mehboob Elahi (plastic surgeon, Toronto), Dr. Donna Johnson (orthopedic surgeon, Vancouver), Deborah Exelby (Advanced Care Paramedic, Victoria), Dr. Mahmood Elahi (physician, Toronto), Jason Stevens (paramedic, Victoria), Kelly Prime (Paramedic, Saskatoon), John Stone (ER nurse, Toronto), David Thomson (Trauma Nurse, Edmonton), David Johnson (SAR, Logistics, Vancouver).
Eight members of the team will be deployed to Bagh to relieve CMAT team #1 that have been working there since October 17. Two of the first four member team, Dr. Ron McMillan and Mr. David Deines will remain until October 27 to orientate the incoming team. The remaining 4 members will work at hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
In other developments, CMAT was awarded $22,000 USD by Michigan, U.S.A.- based Mercy-USA (www.mercyusa.org) to establish an advanced inflatable and mobile tent hospital stocked with medical supplies and medications in Bagh, about 50km from Muzzafferabad. CMAT will rotate teams into and out of this field hospital over the next 4-6 weeks. Once the need in Pakistan has diminished, the Hospital will be stored at CMAT’s British Columbia office, being made available for natural disasters at home or abroad. CMAT has accumulated a database of over 300 skilled health care professionals and construction/tradespersons across Canada which was generated since the December 26 Asian Tsunami. All are volunteers with many indicating they would foot their own travel bills.