LEHIGH ACRES, FL (October 16, 2010) - A sick Haitian child lands at Southwest Florida International Saturday night, as local doctors offer their healing help for free to save his life.
12-year old Jimmy Guerrier comes to Southwest Florida with his life packed away in just one small bag, and wearing a giant smile. He landed in Fort Myers on Saturday from Port au Prince, Haiti...on the dime of local doctors, hoping to treat his severe sickle cell anemia. It's a case so extreme that both of his legs have gaping wounds, untreated for over a year.
"He's really at a risk of developing bone infection, which could cause him to lose both lower extremities. He could end up as a lower extremity amputee of both legs," Dr. Steve Schroering said Saturday.
Dr. Schroering, a Lehigh Acres orthapedic surgeon, is one of the doctors who is dedicating his work to saving Jimmy's legs, and possibly, his life.
Schroering is back and forth to Haiti often, helping kids facing the most dire of circumstances since the devastating earthquake rocked the country earlier this year.
"The hospitals were destroyed, there are very few operational hospitals in Haiti, disease has increased tremendously," Schroering said.
It's disease doctors at Lehigh Regional Medical Center are donating their services to treat. Jimmy will live with a local host family, as Schroering and others start evaluating and treating his case pro-bono, at their state of the art Wound Center.
"It will take months for us to get these wounds to heal," Schroering said.
Jimmy's treatment will likely cost $70-80,000 in medical expenses, a cost Lehigh Regional Medical Center is willing to forgo if it means a shot at a better life for this little boy.
"It's just part of what I do. You see a child there that has a need, that's either going to lose both legs or die, unless you do something or get them out," Schroering said.
Jimmy is the first Haitian child to be flown in and treated at Lehigh Regional Medical Center, but they hope to continue helping the thousands of sick children in Haiti that are in desperate need of help.