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Haiti relief worker returns to Montour Falls
February 14 , 2010


MONTOUR FALLS -- The daughter of a Schuyler Hospital physician returned this week after an eight-day stay in Haiti, where she provided occupational therapy to people recovering from injuries related to the recent earthquake.

Shaila Singh, 27, traveled to Haiti with the U.N.-affiliated non-profit humanitarian organization United Sikhs, operating from a base camp in the warehouse section of the capital city, Port-au-Prince.

She and her team, which included three physicians and a physical therapist, tended to those who already were on the mend.

"They're just trying to get over it and get on," she said.

Singh, whose father, Jagmohan Singh, practices at Schuyler in internal medicine, has been living with her parents in Watkins Glen since she returned Tuesday.

Raised in Rochester, she said she had been living and working in Baltimore recently but is looking to relocate.

In Haiti, she said, her group didn't find many signs of the destruction left by the 7.0-magnitude quake of Jan. 12 until they reached downtown Port-au-Prince.

She said the hospitals she visited were nothing more than collections of tents set up outdoors, and living conditions were deplorable.

"I felt guilty even having the ability to take a bath every two or three days," she said.

Singh said she and her team took with them $45,000 worth of medical supplies donated by Schuyler and hospitals in Chicago and Toronto.

Schuyler gave hand and elbow splints, slings, knee immobilizers, educational materials (on amputation care and gait training, for example) and more, said Michele Myers, director of Rehabilitation Services at Schuyler.

What the medical team didn't use -- including personal items -- they left behind for others as the work continues, Sing said.

"I even donated my flip-flops," she said. "I left everything that I could leave."

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