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Local man part of Haiti relief efforts
Turlock resident Brad Brewster is working with a U.S. medical disaster team in Haiti. - photo by Photo Contributed
Turlock resident Brad Brewster is used to caring for people in emergency situations. As a respiratory therapist at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, he often sees patients who are struggling with serious breathing problems. Since being deployed to Haiti as part of an International Medical Surgical Response Team, however, Brewster has been putting his medical skills and ability to remain calm in an emergency to the test.
The 1997 Turlock High grad is one of about 275 medical professionals who were sent to Haiti by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to help with disaster relief.
“This is the largest international deployment HHS has undertaken,” said Health & Human Services spokesperson Gretchen Michael.
Brewster is currently stationed at the Gheskio Field Clinic in Port-au-Prince. He has been in contact with his mother, Connie Libby, by text message and telephone sporadically since leaving for Haiti on Monday. According to Libby, Brewster said that the condition in Haiti is very extreme. He said there are no sanitary services or electricity and they are using generators.
Brewster told his mother that he has been extremely busy since arriving. She said that on Thursday he treated 200 patients, delivered two babies and took care of an 18 month old with malaria.  
Libby said that Brewster was able to make a brief cell phone call to her on Friday in which he shared some exciting news. Former President Bill Clinton visited the Gheskio Clinic on Friday and, while there, shook Brewster’s hand and said “thanks for being here.”
It is no surprise to Libby that her son would not only become a medical professional, but also volunteer his time to help out in disaster situations. Libby related a story of a car ride she and Brewster took when he was 12 years old. At one point, Brewster had spotted a man on the side of the road in distress and asked his mother to pull over. He ran over to the man who was having a seizure and made sure he wasn’t in any danger. Libby said she remembered when the paramedics arrived, they said they had never seen a young person handle a medical emergency so well.
“For him to go on these (disaster missions), it doesn’t surprise me a bit,” Libby said.
Brewster is a member of one of three International Medical Surgical Response Teams in the nation and a member of the Sacramento area Disaster Medical Assistance Team. Both teams are under the Health & Human Services Department and provide care during times of disasters.
He is expected to remain in Haiti until Feb. 20. Brewster is one of two Doctors Medical Center employees who are currently part of disaster relief efforts in Haiti.
“We’re certainly proud of our employees who register with these disaster teams,” said DMC spokesperson Carin Sarkis.
To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.