Doctors, nurses and officials at Children's Hospital are expressing surprise at the good physical condition of the 53 children from Haiti who arrived in Pittsburgh this morning from an orphanage operated by 2 sisters from Ben Avon, Ali and Jamie McMutrie.
After arriving at the airport, the children were bused to the hospital where nearly 20 doctors, more than a dozen nurses and another dozen medical technicians gave them complete checkups. The hospital's chief of emergency medicine, Dr. Rick Saladino says overall they are doing well..."as you might expect with a group of young children together, a few have upper respiratory infections." Saladino says 1 or 2 were dehydrated and received fluids intravenously.
Hospital President Chris Gessner says he was most surprised by the condition of the children "they just seem to be in great shape given what you would have expected them to have gone through and I think that is a tribute to the sisters down there, Ali and Jamie (McMutrie). They must have done just a phenomenal job with these kids, not only physically but spiritually. They were in good spirits."
Dr. Saladino says even thought the doctors and nurses don't speak Creole or French, the children quickly warmed up to them and interacted with them
Gessner says they've converted their conference room into a "comfort center" where the children can eat, drink, play and sleep. He expects the children to be there for about 24 hours. A temporary makeshift courtroom has been set up for Allegheny Children Youth and Families and Immigration officials to expedite the adoption process. 47 of the children have adoptive families waiting.....40 of them in the United States, 4 in Canada and 3 in Spain.
Gessner says some of the adoptive parents have arrived at the hospital but they cannot see the children until "they are officially recognized as the adoptive parents and there's quite a process that needs to happen there."
Some of the children will be placed in foster care until their adoptive families complete the process.