Published: Oct 8, 2010
It was the first time Marco Duverseau ’12 had been back to his home country of Haiti since the January earthquake.
This summer he saw firsthand what wasn’t there anymore.
“There is telling yourself that you are ready, and then there is actually seeing it,” Duverseau said. “It was shocking.”
saw the rubble and the emptiness. And then he got to work, helping his
father, Harvel Duverseau, an orthopedic surgeon, tend to those still
recovering. Harvel Durverseau and Marco’s mother, Guerea Coicou, an
anesthesiologist, have been helping treat the wounded since the
Duverseau, a pre-medicine biochemistry
major, worked alongside his dad repairing the quick-fixes employed by
triage teams during the chaos, such as the casting of broken bones that
were now infected and needing re-treating. The two worked at the Chaine
de l’Espoir, run by an international nongovernmental organization.
get 50 patients a day including 10 operations,” said Duverseau, who
would arrive at 8 a.m. to a line of people waiting in the street.
“During the day the time would fly by. It’d make you feel good that you
were able to help.”
The experience will help him stand out in
the competitive medical school application process, but that isn’t what
compelled him to lend a hand.
“I saw all the buildings crushed
and would hear about and remember the people who died, and I’d get a
boost,” said Duverseau who just wanted to help. “It made me want to be a
doctor sooner.” Ellyn Bender
UT’s chemistry laboratory coordinator and lecturer, is Duverseau’s
advisor who encouraged him to take advantage of the rare and unique
opportunity to work with an experienced physician who was operating
under less than ideal conditions.
“Given those facts, I thought
he would likely be exposed to more medicine than he could ever get in
the U.S. volunteering at Tampa General or the like,” Bender said. “He
had a chance to help his country, to work with his father and to see
what it really means to practice medicine.”
On his return, Duverseau submitted a reflection paper on his experience, something that inspired Bender.
believe that Marco’s experience will make us all feel good about who we
are as members of this University. I also believe that it may stir
other UT students to action who might otherwise feel that the effort to
do something like this, anywhere in the world, is beyond them,” Bender
said. “Marco has been inspired. His story will inspire all of us.”
said he is one of the lucky few to get his hands in a hospital before
attending medical school. It’s an experience that has stoked his passion
for medicine. For Bender, she hopes he’s a better physician because of
“I don’t know his future plans, what he will specialize in
and whether he intends one day to return to Haiti, but working under the
sub-optimal conditions that exist now in Port-au- Prince at least
exposed him to the extent of human need in his own country,” Bender
said. “I hope it inspires him to continue paying back to society the
gifts and talents that he has. And, of course, that it will continue to
inspire him to be the best darn doctor that he can be.” Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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