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.