Doc­tor at Haiti field hospi­tal says ven­dor may have been trapped in quake rub­ble for 27 days


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A rice ven­dor may have lived un­der the rub­ble of a flea mar­ket for 27 days with lit­tle more than wa­ter and pos­si­bly fruit, a doc­tor said Tues­day, in what would be a dra­matic tale of sur­vival four weeks af­ter Haiti’s dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake.

The man’s ac­count could not be in­de­pen­dently con­firmed, how­ever, and the doc­tor con­ceded med­i­cal work­ers were skep­ti­cal at first, but he said they be­gan to be­lieve the man when he re­gained con­scious­ness and told his story.

The nab said he had just fin­ished sell­ing rice for the day at a down­town flea mar­ket when quake struck Jan. 12. He said he didn’t suf­fer any ma­jor in­juries and was trapped on his side in an area where food and drink ven­dors were sell­ing their goods.

“Based on that (his story), we be­lieve him,” said Dr. Dushyan­tha Jayaweera, a physi­cian at the Uni­ver­sity of Mi­ami Medishare field hospi­tal where hun­dreds of pa­tients have been treated since the quake.

Doc­tors said two men first took the ven­dor — iden­ti­fied as Evans Mon­si­grace — to a Sal­va­tion Army med­i­cal cen­tre in Port-au-Prince on Mon­day and he was then taken to the Uni­ver­sity of Mi­ami hospi­tal be­cause of his crit­i­cal con­di­tion. The men who brought him also said he had been trapped un­der the de­bris since the dis­as­ter.

The pa­tient was suf­fer­ing from se­vere de­hy­dra­tion and mal­nu­tri­tion, but health-care work­ers ex­pressed skep­ti­cism about his story when some of his lab work came back rel­a­tively nor­mal, Jayaweera said. Then the man re­gained con­scious­ness and was lu­cid enough to re­count a tale that seems plau­si­ble, the doc­tor said.

Still, doc­tors at the field hospi­tal or at a Sal­va­tion Army med­i­cal cen­tre had no way to con­firm the story.

The last con­firmed sur­vivor found in Haiti was a 16-year-old girl re­moved from rub­ble by a French res­cue team 15 days af­ter the quake. Doc­tors said at the time that dis­as­ter sur­vivors may be able to sus­tain them­selves with a wa­ter sup­ply and without med­i­cal at­ten­tion for up to two weeks.

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