Baldwin Harbor doctor Jean Paul Toussaint decided he had to go back home to Haiti after a phone conversation with his brother Evens.

No, his brother told him - don't dare come to Haiti. It's not safe while the aftershocks continue.

Then he added: But if you do come, bring water.

For Toussaint, those last words made clear how desperate the conditions are.

"By that time, I felt in my heart that I have to be there," said Toussaint, 43. "Not only for my brother, not only for my uncle and my cousins - they're OK - but for those Haitians that I consider them like my brothers also."

So Thursday morning, Toussaint, an internal medicine resident at Brooklyn Hospital, expects to board a flight to the Dominican Republic, then catch a bus to the Port-au-Prince area.

Toussaint, who practiced gynecology in Haiti for more than 15 years before coming to New York in 2008, has already been asked to work by the medical director of one of the city's functioning hospitals. He has packed bags with food, water and medical supplies collected by a group of Long Island professionals who galvanized in the wake of last week's earthquake.

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But before he reports to the hospital, a public facility close to the presidential palace, Toussaint will tend to an urgent case in Carrefour Feuilles, a poor district outside downtown Port-au-Prince. There, he plans to look after a family friend named Celitane, whose legs were crushed by falling debris. Her condition is such that "if they don't amputate her legs, she will go into septic shock and she will die," Toussaint said.

Amid the tales of loss, Toussaint has heard stories of survival that have strengthened his faith.

His cousin Peguito Joseph, searching for people beneath the rubble that had been his family's house in Delmas, pulled his girlfriend's lifeless body from the pile. He managed to rescue one of her sisters, who lost her sight, and her mother, who Toussaint said is in critical condition with no access to medical care. Amid the horror, Joseph's 2-year-old daughter Kayla, cradled in her grandmother's arms, escaped with her life - and appears to have suffered no injuries.

The lack of access to medical care is dire, especially in outlying areas, said Toussaint, who hopes to work with the group of professionals on Long Island to collaborate on setting up a mobile aid unit. As many as 20,000 people are dying each day who could be saved by surgery, according to estimates reported by The Associated Press.

Wednesday's 6.0 quake compounded the troubles. Evens Toussaint's house, laced with cracks but still standing, finally collapsed. Evens called Wednesday and asked, "Do you still want to come?" said Toussaint, who insisted that he did.

 

Major earthquake hits Haiti

His plane ticket says he's due back in New York on Tuesday, but Toussaint said he would like to stay longer if circumstances allow.

"Each day is like a mountain to climb without knowing whether at the end of the day, you will reach the top," Toussaint said. "If you don't, you will die. This is what we call a battle to survive."

>>PHOTOS: Frantic rescue effort in Haiti | Deadliest recent earthquakes

>> LIVE: Twitter coverage of the scene in Haiti, from aid agencies, and reaction worldwide

>> VIDEOS: Latest videos from Haiti and on LI

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>> MORE: Read more about LIers grieving and LI's efforts to help | Latest news from Haiti | Haiti's road to chaos: 2006 Newsday series

 


HOW TO HELP

* You can help immediately by texting "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be charged to your cell phone bill and given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts.

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* Wyclef Jean, a rapper and hip-hop artist from Haiti, urged people to text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 toward earthquake relief. Yéle Haiti is a grassroots movement inspiring change in Haiti through programs in education, sports, the arts and environment, according to its Web site.

* The State Department Operations Center has set up the following number for Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747. The Red Cross has also set up a Web site to help family members find and contact relatives.

* You can also go online to organizations such as the Red Cross and MercyCorps to make a contribution to the disaster relief efforts.

The FBI warned Internet users to be wary of e-mail messages seeking donations in the aftermath of the quake. People who want to send money or assistance should contribute to known organizations and should be careful not to respond to unsolicited e-mails, officials said.

 

Other Web sites accepting donations include:

-Haitian Health Foundation
-Hope for Haiti
-UNICEF
-International Medical Corps
-Beyond Borders
-AmeriCares