A Haitian Family’s Hope Grows At A Boston Hospital

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From the New York Times:

Jean Paul Coffy, who lives in Chicago, somehow found his parents alive amid the rubble six days after the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti in January, a reunion that attracted international attention as a glimmer of hope amid the destruction.

Getting proper medical attention for his 68-year-old mother, a diabetic with a broken leg and an infection that had eaten away at her hip bone, was even more difficult.

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The arduous quest from their Port-au-Prince home ended in relief last weekend at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The family traveled over Haiti’s bone-rattling roads and slept in hospital hallways in the Dominican Republic, but Mr. Coffy was unable to find the medical help needed for his mother, Zilania Joacin, in those countries. He tried to secure permission for his parents to return with him to Chicago. But as was the case for thousands of other Haitian families, the Coffys’ situation was complicated by the slow process of securing a visa to travel to the United States.

Mr. Coffy, 34, was told by the United States Consulate in Santo Domingo that he would need to apply for humanitarian parole, a special temporary immigration category that is rarely granted, and would need to wait three months for a decision. He then contacted Partners in Health, a nonprofit group based in Boston that has provided medical aid to Haitians since 1987 and has led the post-earthquake medical assistance effort. The organization agreed to help Ms. Joacin.

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