Doctors that Sail
[private] The journey of the Floating Doctors, a non profit group of doctors seeking to bring medical care to developing countries, began on April 17, 2010 with seven people and 20,000 pounds of medical supplies bound for Haiti. Their transport and home is a 76 ft sailboat called Southern Wind and allows them to focus donation dollars on medicines rather than housing.
The Floating Doctors team rescued the 30 year old Southern Wind from the bottom of the dock in the canals of the inter-coastal waterway in Florida and spent 11 months renovating the boat themselves. They designed it to be self-sustaining as far as energy and fuel efficiency. The boat travels up to 250 miles a day and requires little fuel. The red and white rugged boat stores medical supplies and serves as a base for medical laboratory.
The organization’s founder, Dr. Benjamin Labrot, 34, a graduate from Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, Ireland, is living out his lifelong dream of bringing free medical aid to those who can’t get it otherwise. The seeds of this dream were planted in his life by his father, Dr. George Labrot, who would take him along on medical missions. “Practicing this kind of medicine is the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done with my life,” says Dr. Benjamin Labrot.
The Southern Wind has been in the Bay Islands since July and will stay here until December. The Floating Doctors core team and medical school volunteers that fly in from the US to take part in the project, have treated around 4,000 patients on Roatan and Cayos Cochinos. They were able to help in medical problems ranging from parasites to stroke victims and paraplegic children. The team is currently waiting on 14,000 pounds of medications and equipment donated by Direct Relief International from California. According to Dr. Benjamin Labrot the container should include high tech wheelchairs.
They are on call six days a week and can be found volunteering their time and expertise at any of the following clinics: Clinica Esperanza, Los Fuertes Health Center, RBC and Oak Ridge Health Clinic.
“Health and reproductive education is probably the most important need for young people here,” said Tracy Ebanks, a Licensed Medical Assistant, from Oak Ridge, Roatan, who is currently studying in California and one of the volunteers with Floating Doctors. Ebanks volunteered three days and performed around 30 ultrasounds at the Oak Ridge clinic with the Floating Doctors. [/private]