After the earthquake, nine-year-old Peterson Exais was trapped under rubble for four days. Once he was rescued, Peterson was rushed to a tent hospital in Port-au-Prince. Chad Perlyn was the first doctor available. He is a pediatric plastic surgeon at Miami Children’s Hospital.
Perlyn knew the tent hospital was not equipped to treat Peterson. So he put the boy on a list for treatment at one of the U.S. hospitals that were tending to young earthquake victims– hospitals in far-flung cities like Orlando, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.
Perlyn thought his connection with his young patient ended there, but it didn’t.
In all, Miami Children’s Hospital treated 23 young earthquake survivors. They took up a whole wing of the hospital, known as 2 East.
Niala Boodhoo tells the story of 2 East, and of the healing relationship between a doctor and his patient. Click the player above to listen to the story.
Here’s a video of the kids from 2 East on a recent trip to Orlando. Chad Perlyn and a group of nurses, parents, and other chaperones took Peterson Exais and the other kids to Universal Studios. Video is courtesy of Miami Children’s Hospital.
UPDATE, ONE YEAR AFTER THE QUAKE:
Peterson had his fifteenth surgery a few weeks ago. Dr. Perlyn has completely rebuilt Peterson’s left ear and he says the surgery should be the last big one.
Peterson is in the fourth grade at a public school in Miami. His favorite subject is math. He says he wants to be a doctor when he grows up.