Miraculous stories of survival are emerging from the rubble of the earthquake that ravaged Haiti last week. One hits particularly close to home. Last night a 12-year-old Haitian boy got out of surgery at Cape Fear Hospital. Doctors say Carlens Delfils was awake and moving around this morning and resting this afternoon.
His journey here was long, just like his recovery promises to be. Thanks to some local residents, Delfils can return to Haiti, having received the medical treatment he so badly needed. The earthquake one week earlier destroyed his family home in Port-au-Prince.
"In the street where I live in Port-au-Prince, when I was walking to the streets to find a hospital for my son Saturday night you can see corpse of people, dead bodies, across the street, you can not count them," said Carlens father Octavius Delfils.
As the death toll continues to mount in Haiti, Octavius knows he and his family are very lucky not only to be alive, but also because Carlens is getting the medical attention he needs. The boy badly injured his right hand trying to save his sister as his house came down.
"He always loves his sister," Octavius said. "He loves her and wants to take care of her."
But it was Carlens who needed care, and some people here in Wilmington wanted to give it. Octavius, a pastor in Port-au-Prince, worked with a Wilmington mission group in Haiti. After the quake, Paul Snyder, a member of the Wilmington mission helped organize Carlens' trip to the US.
"To think that a child from Haiti in an earthquake last Tuesday could be here on a Tuesday a week later in surgery to get his hand repaired is just incredible," Snyder said.
Getting here wasn't easy. After the earthquake, Octavius took his son about one hour north of Port-au-Prince for treatment, where Carlens most likely would have lost his hand. It was there where Octavius found out his friends in Wilmington were looking for him and had arranged help for his son.
"I said, 'Lord, we have the hospital, the doctors now, and we need the passport to go,'" Octavius said. "And then one of my friends went back to the house and he worked two days and then he found the passport."
With passports in hand, the family crossed the border in to the Dominican Republic and flew to Myrtle Beach. And as Carliens was rolled in to surgery Tuesday night, his father said it's all a miracle.
"I am thankful for what the Lord has done," Octavius said. "He is powerful. He is great. He saved our lives and he saves the life of many other people in Haiti now."
Carlens went in to surgery around 6 p.m. Tuesday. It took about four hours, but he is in recovery, and his doctors say he is doing well. He will stay in Wilmington for another six weeks while doctors help with the physical therapy.
Wilmington Orthopaedic Group has set up a fund for Carlens Delfils and his family to help them recover from the earthquake in Haiti. Anyone interested in donating can stop by any RBC Bank location or call (910) 772-8800.