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Mass General Hospital Team Joins Typhoon Relief Effort In Philippines

By Paul Burton, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Paul Burton (Photo: WBZ-TV) Paul Burton
Paul Burton is a general assignment reporter for WBZ-TV News. Burto...
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BROOKLINE (CBS) — Miriam Ashchkenasy is an emergency medicine physician and has been doing humanitarian response work for past 15 years. On Sunday, she deploys to the Philippines as part of a disaster relief team from Massachusetts General Hospital.

“I have my mosquito net, flashlight, raingear and mattress,” Ashchkenasy said at her Brookline home.

More than a week after a Typhoon Haiyan laid waste to much of the central Philippines; the toll is overwhelming. More than 3,000 people killed, another thousand others still missing and more 2 million people displaced from their homes.

Dr. Hilarie Cranner is director of disaster response For the Center for Global Health at Mass General. She says a team of seven health professionals, including Ashchkenasy, will leave on Sunday and head to Cebu. “It’s a rounded team of nurses, pharmacists and doctors who are going to the hardest hit areas,” Cranner said.

As Ashchkenasy packed Saturday and spent time with her children, she knew she had a great responsibility as the team’s leader.

“We will see infected wounds and other lacerations. But … I can do something that most people can’t do and make an impact,” the Brookline woman said.

Ashchkenasy said she plans to be gone for about three weeks, but during that time she said she will stay in close contact with her team back in Boston and her family. “I’m setting an example for my children; that sometimes what you want isn’t as important as what the world needs,” she said.

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