By Casey Nolen
St. Louis (KSDK) - Thursday marks two years since a devastating 7.0 earthquake wrecked the island nation of Haiti, a third-world country that was already suffering, and a country where many St. Louisans have found a calling to help.
It's not a destination where many would consider spending their vacation; the poverty-stricken and earthquake-torn Caribbean country of Haiti.
But for this group of doctors and dozens of volunteers from Barnes-Jewish and Children's Hospitals, Haiti is where they've spent much of their vacation time the past few years, working to help children with a condition known as hydrocephalus.
In hydrocephalus, fluid on the brain can cause a child's head to swell and damage the brain.
Lead by two neurosurgeons, and focused on this one condition, the team has treated over 100 children in less than three years with treatment otherwise unavailable in Haiti, using supplies that would otherwise go to waste in the U.S.
"It's a way for us to impact a large number of patients in even just a few days," said Dr. David Limbrick.
Dr. Limbrick led the first trip just two months before the earthquake in 2010.
"I think the first thing that came to mind. What happened to those children," said Dr. Limbrick.
And in four trips since, he's seen their program grow in a country that's slowly making progress.
"Buildings are still destroyed. People are still out there that have never been found or identified. But the streets are running. People are back to work in their daily lives. But I do think that medical facility that I mentioned is definitely a step forward and an improvement overall," he said. "Right now, in my experience, it feels like we're kind of back to where we were before the earthquake which is still a struggle."
The team will spend about a week in Haiti performing about two dozen surgeries in just three days.
The doctors are quick to give credit to the dozens of volunteers from several departments that make their trip possible.