Thursday, February 24, 2011 - Haiti Survivor Returns to Broward General Medical Center to Personally Thank Staff Members

Jean Maret Joseph, a former school teacher from Haiti, returned to Broward General Medical Center yesterday to personally thank the staff who cared for him during his month-long stay following Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010. He especially wanted to express his gratitude to Fayon Walker, RN, in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Broward General. Injuries prevented Joseph from opening his eyes during the first 14 days of his hospitalization, but Fayon kept talking to him and reassuring him that he would be okay. Fayon's voice is Joseph’s only memory of those first days.

"I had to come back and say thank you from the very bottom of my heart to all those who cared for me here. It's absolutely the very least I can do," said Jean Joseph who lost his wife and two sons aged 5 and 7 in the disaster. "Now, when people ask how I'm doing after everything that happened, I tell them I'm alive and for that, I'm so grateful."

Joseph was at his home the moment the earthquake struck. The ceiling fell on top of him and he lay trapped for 8 hours. Rescuers had almost left him for dead before he was finally discovered. It took one hour to pry him - the only survivor in the building - from the rubble.

The hospitals in the area were flattened by the earthquake so Joseph was flown to Miami where he was taken to Broward General Medical Center. He received surgery on his arm and leg but lost three fingers on his left hand.

Cindy Boily, chief nursing officer at Broward General Medical Center said, "It is a pleasure for our staff to take part in the recovery of a man of such strength and integrity. We are so proud of Fayon who gave continuous encouragement and support to our guest. We especially thank Mr. Joseph for taking the time to acknowledge our outstanding nurse and nursing team." 

Joseph currently works as an accountant in New York City and makes regular trips to Haiti where he is slowly rebuilding the school he founded in 2004. The five-story school, which once held 400 children from first grade to high school age, was ruined in the disaster.

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Broward General Medical Center staff receive plaque presented by former patient, Jean Maret Joseph. (L to R) Cindy Boily, CNO; Fayon Walker, RN; Jean Maret Joseph; Elaine Miller, RN; and Kim Kearney, RN.