Who Won The 2022 Humanitarian Crisis Response Award?
June 17th, 2022 by Nicholas Comninellis
This award recognizes individuals and organizations who provide exemplary disaster response services for highly vulnerable communities. In doing so, they accentuate the value of life and provide an exemplary model for us all.
The 2022 Humanitarian Crisis Response Award recipient is Ted Higgins. Dr. Higgins is a surgeon who has devoted his career to his patients, and teaching surgery in third world countries, in particular Haiti. He was introduced to third world surgery as a fourth-year surgical resident at Yale when he and his wife spent 3 months in Haiti operating at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital. After Ted finished his vascular surgery fellowship at Baylor, his family moved to Kansas City, his wife’s hometown. Soon Ted was making yearly surgical mission trips with his church to the Dominican Republic helping train their surgeon in general, laparoscopic, and vascular surgical techniques. This lasted until 2010, when the catastrophic Haitian earthquake occurred, and Ted returned to Haiti.
He again started working with Haitian surgical residents from the General Hospital in Port Au Prince. The tiny delivery room, though, used for surgery was inadequate, particularly for teaching, so the Higgins Brothers Surgicenter for Hope was constructed in 2016. This contained 2 major operating rooms for teaching and performing surgeries. He soon hired several talented Haitian surgeons he helped train to avoid their leaving Haiti. They established a surgical team and set up a 24/7 trauma and emergency facility that now performs general, vascular, urology, obstetrics, and gynecology procedures. A nearby medical clinic was soon incorporated in to the Surgicenter that included medical, pediatric, HIV, maternity, and dental patients. When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in 2016 and Hurricane Laura in 2020, the Surgicenter provided not only emergency medical care but also shelter, food, and water for hundreds of local residents. Even amid the Covid pandemic, in roughly 19,000 patients were cared for at the Surgicenter and clinics in 2021.