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WPTV NBC 5 interview on Jan. 13, 2010





PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL--Dr. Wilhelm Larsen is a successful oncologist in Palm Beach County. He is one of five brothers. All became physicians.

Three years ago, Dr. Larsen and Dr. Albert Latorra, prominent doctors in Palm Beach County, looked down at Port-au-Prince from Larsen's ancestral home where his mother, in her nineties, still lived.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, sprawled below.

He had a dream to help.

Larsen and surgeon Latorra would eventually open clinics in the staggeringly poor city of 3 million.

Port-au-Prince is a place so lawless that when NewsChannel 5's Tim Malloy traveled with them to document their story, they had bodyguards and raced through the streets fearful of kidnapping.

Larsen's brother, a top Port-au-Prince doctor, had recently escaped an assassination attempt.

Drug gangs ruled.

Touring the ward of hospital they resurrected, Larsen emotionally spoke of his mission.

"I can't sleep." Larsen said. "I'm 62 years old. Dr Latorra and I have to do something."

They did.

In clinics with armed guards posted at the door they brought health care to the most dangerous neighborhoods.

Two years later a powerful jolt shakes a city mired in squalor, and many buildings fall to the ground.

Two hospitals collapse, people die in the streets. There's no one to treat them.

To the Haitian born doctor, it is a heartbreaking tableau of pain.

"Any building three stories or higher is gone. It's heartbreaking. I have tears in my eyes," says Dr. Larsen.

One of Larsen's brothers, who is the country's Health Minister, will get him on the first plane that can take him to Port-au-Prince.

"I don't care if I have to go barefoot...no food no water. I just want to go," Dr. Larsen says.

And when he does he will be confronted with an unimaginable state of misery.


Article and video courtesy of Tim Malloy and WPTV NBC 5 in West Palm Beach, FL.

Dr. Larsen talks about post-earthquake Haiti in an interview with Tim Malloy of WPTV NBC 5 in West Palm Beach, FL.

Jan. 13, 2010

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