A team of 15 medical professionals from three Bay Area hospitals is leaving today for Haiti, where they will provide critical care to victims of the devastating earthquake that rocked the country last week.

The team consists of general and orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pulmonary care specialists, and operating room nurses who volunteered to fly to Port-au-Prince for a seven-day trip to assist with relief efforts.

They were scheduled to depart from San Francisco International Airport at about 2 p.m.
The earthquake on Jan. 12 destroyed many buildings and left hundreds of thousands of people dead, hurt or missing.

The team includes volunteers from Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, California Pacific Medical Center and Mills-Peninsula Health Services. The team’s leader is Dr. Stephen Lockhart, Sutter Health’s chief medical officer for the East Bay region.

Once in Haiti, they will set up near the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince and assist people needing surgical care.

Lockhart said the group is “both excited and anxious” about the trip.

“What we’re about to experience is probably unmatched” in terms of devastation that members of the team have seen, but “we’re also excited to be helping,” he said.

Sutter Health, which has announced a $1.25 million donation to the relief effort, is also transporting medical supplies, surgical equipment and anesthesia medication to Haiti.

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