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a684: Haitian Hearts still beats strong

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>

Haitian Hearts still beats strong
Despite losing his job, Dr. Carroll still helps sick
children get treatment

February 6, 2002

of the Journal Star

PEORIA - After four weeks in Haiti, Dr. John Carroll
arrived back in Peoria on Tuesday night accompanied by
six children and an adult, all needing medical care.

"All will be big-time challenges to Peoria's medical
community," Carroll said. "They are all surgical
cases. These kids will get the care they need; I know
they will."

About 50 friends and supporters met Carroll and the
Haitians at Greater Peoria Regional Airport. The
Haitians will stay with host families while undergoing
medical treatment.

Carroll, 48, of Peoria, is a founder of Haitian
Hearts, a charity that brings children with
life-threatening illnesses to Peoria and elsewhere in
the United States for treatment they otherwise could
not receive. He has won awards and visibility for his
work with the Haitians.

A week before Christmas, however, Carroll was fired
from his job of 21 years as a physician in the
emergency department of OSF Saint Francis Medical
Center. He said the dispute began over his push for
more beds in the department.

St. Francis officials will not comment on the firing
but have said the hospital's support for the Haitian
Hearts program will continue.

Despite his firing, Carroll retains medical privileges
at St. Francis, and he said Tuesday he will focus, for
now, on overseeing care for the Haitians.

"My goal is to keep the kids healthy, improve them,
get them back to Haiti," he said.

Carroll's mother, Mary, was among the group at the
airport. She said several potential employers have
attempted to contact her son recently.

Carroll said Tuesday he is still working on treatment
plans for the Haitians. "I would like to give
Children's Hospital (of Illinois at St. Francis) the
privilege of taking care of Haitian children."

All the Haitians he brought back have either rheumatic
heart disease or congenital heart problems.

He first met the 28-year-old, Yvel, three years ago.
Yvel had rheumatic fever as a child and likely will
need two heart valves replaced, Carroll said. "He was
hard to turn down after three years."

Dr. Stephen Bash and his wife, Patty, were among the
group meeting Carroll. Bash, a pediatric cardiologist,
said he is scheduled to see three of the patients

"I'll find out tomorrow (what is wrong with them) and
see if we can fix them," he said.

The newly arrived Haitians spoke no English and were
weary and hungry after 12 hours of travel. Carroll
said a nurse he knew from St. Francis happened to be
on the same flight from Miami, and she helped with the
children. They are Katina, 7, Cathia, 11, Stanley, 5,
Jean, 5, Maxime, 16, and Jocelyn, 11.

Debbie Fischer of Benson brought the four children in
her household, ages 4 to 16, to meet the Haitian child
she will host. She has hosted others in the past and
as a nurse can handle children with special needs.

Helen Martin of Eureka and her daughter, Sally
Achterberg, a board member of Children's Hospital,
brought homemade comforters and bags filled with small
items for the newly arriving Haitians.

Martin said her church, Roanoke Apostolic Christian
Church, funded the bags and made the comforters
through its World Relief program.

Achterberg said she is serving on the Haitian Hearts
Auction committee, an event scheduled for April 12.
She hopes the auction this year will raise $100,000
for the program. It raised $60,000 last year.

"People are very generous," she said.

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