Weill Cornell Global Health

An Engineer and a Physician

Excerpts from an email by Structural Engineer, Dr. Ken Hover

 Dr. Ken Hover is a structural engineer and Professor at Cornell University. He travelled to Haiti to evaluate the stability of medical facilities, including GHESKIO. He travelled alongside Dr. David Michel who is a native of Haiti and a resident physician at WCMC New York Presbyterian Hospital.
"The devastation here is incomprehensible, even when you are next to it. The Haitians must be the most resilient people on earth, they are trying diligently to get life back to normal, whatever that normal life may be.

The newest [GHESKIO buildings] took some very severe hits.  Far more damage evident inside than outside.  In California, much of it would be slated for major structural rehab, with no access permitted.

The [older buildings] have some immediate structural issues, portions are not inhabitable, and portions appear to be suffering from accelerated and uneven settlement due to soil that lost some of its bearing capacity.

Pairing an engineer with a doctor was shear genius--thank you! Together we see far more than 2 engineers would, or 2 doctors.  I tell him where he cannot go due to structure, and he tells me where I cannot go due to infectious diseases.  My Spanish helped in DR, his French & Creole are invaluable here.

Aftershocks continue at what seems to me to be an unusual frequency and intensity. One this morning.  Several yesterday.  Big one Wednesday.

 Our bus was hit by a truck on the way in [to Port-au-Prince].  Cracked the window and blew out driver's side window, slightly injuring bus driver.  Dr. Michel treated driver and we continued."


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