Order of Malta US Virgin Islands Medical Relief Mission
In October 2017, the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital leadership in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands contacted the Order of Malta, requesting help. After being devastated by two category 5 hurricanes (Irma and Maria) within 14 days, the Schneider Hospital was in dire need. Unfortunately, resources for aid and relief support are limited after the hurricanes in the Caribbean and the United States, as well as the earthquake in Mexico. The Area Chairs of the Virgin Islands Area of the American Association, Jerry and Christine Woodhouse, enlisted the help of the Columbus Region of the Federal Association, as well as the Order of Malta Center of Care. This team then worked tirelessly to provide for the needs of this damaged hospital. The Hospital was in dire need of doctors and nurses to travel to the Virgin Islands to volunteer, treating the sick and injured in the hospital. Also, drugs are in very short supply, especially cancer medications. The hospital also was in need of replacements for most of the supplies and equipment that they use every day for surgeries and general patient care which were destroyed in the hurricanes. Answering the call to travel to the Virgin Islands was Registered Nurse, Aimee Vaughn, and Dr. Ha-Yung Choi, both from the MD/VA/D.C. area. From October 29th until November 4th, these wonderful volunteers stayed at the partially wrecked hospital and filled in for doctors and nurses who had evacuated the islands. Plans to send more volunteers are underway. On November 14th, a forty foot long shipping container carrying almost 21,000 lbs. of medical equipment land supplies eft the loading dock on it’s way to the Virgin Islands. Additionally, Dr. Richard Mena, KM has been coordinating a large donation of drugs, including the needed cancer drugs, and large medical equipment. This project was truly a collaboration between many different branches of the Order, and was made possible only by the hard work of, and generous donations from, the American Association of the Order of Malta, the Virgin Islands Area of the American Association, the Federal Association of the Order of Malta, the Columbus Region of the Federal Association, the Order of Malta Center of Care, the Kansas City Region of the Federal Association, Malteser International Americas, and the Franciscan Mission Warehouse. Thank you to all!