Diaspora

KC-area doctor who founded clinic in Haiti said it's facing new threats from gangs – KMBC Kansas City

Dr. Ted Higgins says a fresh wave of gang violence has Haiti at a tipping point
Dr. Ted Higgins says a fresh wave of gang violence has Haiti at a tipping point
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Dr. Ted Higgins says a fresh wave of gang violence has Haiti at a tipping point
A Prairie Village doctor who operates a 24/7 surgical trauma center in Haiti, near the Dominican border, said the clinic is facing new threats brought on by gang violence.
“These are 14-year-old boys carrying AK-47s down the road,” said Dr. Ted Higgins, founder of the Higgins Brothers Surgicenter of Hope.
He said a fresh wave of gang violence has Haiti at a tipping point.
“People are getting injured, and stopped, and kidnapped every day,” he said.
Higgins recently returned from Haiti.
“Many of our patients can’t get to our surgery and our clinics because of the gang problem and people die,” Higgins said.
Higgins’ chief medical officer is recovering from a gunshot wound inflicted by a gang who also robbed him and left him for dead on a road, but he survived.
An hour away in the capital of Port au Prince, citizens are rising up in protest amid ongoing gang warfare that’s left hundreds of civilians dead in recent weeks.
“Even in war zones, there are humanitarian corridors, so ambulances and patients can pass, and we don’t have that right now in Haiti,” Higgins said.
Higgins said that Haiti needs the world to step in.
“Every time I leave Haiti, I feel like I’m inspired by these people,” he said.
An anesthesiologist at the surgical center was kidnapped while Higgins was visiting this summer. A gang member let him go because he recognized him as the doctor who once helped save his life. That doctor then went immediately to the clinic where he scrubbed in and helped deliver a baby.
A tournament to benefit the surgicenter in Haiti is set for Oct. 15 at Homestead Country Club. The money raised by playing pickleball and tennis will go toward patient care.

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