Local medical relief team returns, describes Nepal earthquake

LOMA LINDA, Calif. (KABC) -- Friends and family members were grateful for the safe return of specialist Andrew Haglund and Dr. Scott Nelson after both men experienced Nepal's most recent major earthquake.

The two had flown to Scheer Memorial Hospital in Nepal with an orthopedic surgery team from the Loma Linda University Medical Center to provide relief after the first recent quake struck the country on April 25.

"I think the biggest struggle Nepal is facing is food and shelter. The post traumatic stress of not going to sleep at night, not knowing if the roof is going to come down on you," Haglund said.

He said another major challenge the victims faced was communication and finding out if people were OK after a quake hit.

"Every time the ground shook, the cellphone network would bog down," Haglund said. "Bringing in two-way radios was a major increase in their functionality."

The team's resources were put to the test when the most recent earthquake struck the country while they were there last week.

"It was the biggest quake I've ever experienced and 54 seconds of shaking is pretty scary," Haglund recalled.

Fortunately, he was able to get outside. Nelson, however, was in the middle of performing spine surgery.

"As the quake strengthened, I realized I better just get the screw inserted in there and focus on taking care of the patient," Nelson said. "It wasn't an option to run out of the room or anything like that for myself or any of the staff that I was with."

Both men admitted that they don't have their own earthquake kits ready to go at home, but after their experience in Nepal, they realize the importance of being prepared.

Those wanting to help can donate to ABC7's Nepal earthquake relief fund.
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