Crist: Florida Back Open for Earthquake Victims - NBC 6 South Florida

Crist: Florida Back Open for Earthquake Victims

Haiti evacuees could return to Miami hospitals



    Crist: Florida Back Open for Earthquake Victims
    Darlene Etienne, 17, rests in a French military field hospital after being rescued from a building in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. French rescuers pulled the teenage girl out of the rubble 15 days after an earthquake hit the Caribbean capital. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

    Is it compassion or cash?

    Gov. Charlie Crist appears to have re-opened his heart and state to injured Haitians after the federal government agreed to open its wallet to help pay for the healthcare of the earthquake victims.

    Hospital officials in South Florida had argued last week that they could take no more patients from the island nation because they could no longer afford it. But Monday, evacuees were slated to be airlifted to South Florida after emergency relief money was approved by Washington.

    Crist said Florida has been designated eligible for national disaster medical assistance to cover the $10 million it has already spent, as well as future costs. He said that despite reports, no one in Florida ever requested medical evacuation flights from Haiti to be halted.

    Yet, no evacuees have come to South Florida since Wednesday.

    In the days after the Jan. 12 earthquake that rocked Port-au-Prince, around 400 severely injured people were brought to South Florida for immediate medical care.

    Many of the first evacuees ended up at Jackson Memorial Hospital, but after two weeks of emergency medical services, including life-saving surgeries, the hospital districts said they had to close their doors to desperate Haitians in need. Officials also voiced concerna btou being able to serve potential customers who were in town for the pro Bowl and Super Bowl XLIV.

    Without the medical evacuations, Haitians would have to make due on their own with limited medical supplies or knowledge.

    Broken bones have been mended with pieces of concrete, broken wood and even wire fencing, some nurses and doctors who volunteered to travel to Haiti to help have reported.