A Life Changing Experience For Gulfport Nurse - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/18/05

A Life Changing Experience For Gulfport Nurse

As he browsed through pictures on his laptop computer, Joel Turner said, "To see the human suffering, to see the physical damage, to hear their stories, to look in their eyes was almost too much."  There is a story behind each of Joel Turner's pictures. He took them in a small village in South India, one of the hardest hit by the wall of water. Stories of heartbreak, loss and sorrow. "But then to see their need and to have something to offer was so rewarding, so rewarding."

 Using his medical skills, Turner offered whatever he could. Turner says the survivors there were not getting much help from the relief agencies. "These people where I was they needed as much help as anybody but they were just not on the radar screen."  With his three duffle bags of medicine and supplies, Turner teamed up with an Indian nurse who had only a stethoscope. They set up a medical clinic inside a school. "This was the only medical relief for ten villages. Immediately after the Tsunami the India government came in and set up medical camps for about a week to deal with the emergencies and then they dismantled them and left, leaving these villagers with absolutely no medical help at all."

Turner and the nurse treated up to a hundred patients a day. The treatment continues today in a new van bought with money Turner raised. The mobile medical clinic travels to five villages staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses. As the recovery continues, Turner says his role is not over. "This to me is a lifelong project. This is not something that for me personally will go away in a month or two. I will continue to work this area in India and help them recover until it is accomplished." Turner says he plans a return trip to India in December.

Marcia Hill

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