Lending a healing hand
Emory reaches out to refugees in Kosovo
Halfway into a nine-day medical relief mission to aid Kosovar refugees in the Albanian capital of Tirana this May, DORIAN HAYES 73C-78M-82RADI reflected on what Mother Theresa once told her. A veteran of three previous humanitarian trips, Hayes met the Nobel Laureate in 1995 at a Calcutta orphanage.
We came in with our drugs and our stethoscopes, and she basically said, Lay it all down. I want you to heal with your hands and your heart. That was pretty powerful, says Hayes, an assistant professor of radiology at the School of Medicine.
It was a lesson Hayes put to good use in Albania. We dealt with basic ear infections and staph infections. . . , but the main thing was the post-traumatic stress. I really got more into listening to their stories and holding them and just letting them weep. There are other ways to heal than medicine.
Hayes and ten colleagues arrived in Tirana on May 1, when peace still seemed remote. On a typical day she would take medical supplies to a large sports stadium in the city that had become a way station for refugees. She also visited camps run by Italian, German, and Turkish authorities.
People had nothing and were sleeping a hundred to a tent. . . . There were no men, just women and children mostly five to ten years old. The women . . . would tell how their men were murdered in front of them, their sons were shot, their homes were bombed.
Hayes says while relief work can be extraordinarily demanding, it has its rewards.
I wanted to stay when it was time to go. People say you get back more than you give, and it sounds trite, but it does change your life.
Rollins School of Public Health adjunct professors Brent Burkholder and Brad Woodruff and Emory nursing student SUSAN LOMAX 99MN also took part in Kosovo refugee efforts this spring and summer.G.F.