Here’s a story that appeared on the University of Miami’s website a couple of days ago:
Like so many post-quake emergencies, this one was urgent. Doctors at the University of Miami’s hospital in Haiti knew a 13-year-old survivor of the January 12 cataclysm would not live without surgery. But they were not equipped to perform it.
With cell phone and satellite phone coverage spotty, and land lines destroyed, neither could the doctors summon an ambulance nor call other makeshift hospitals to search for one that could help the teen-aged girl.
Fortunately, they had the world’s first, and still most reliable, wireless technology just 25 yards outside the hospital’s pediatrics tent – the impromptu ham radio station Ronald Bogue, assistant vice president for facilities and services, and UM alumnus Julio Ripoll established to ensure uninterrupted communications between the hospital at the edge of the Port-au-Prince airport and the Global Institute/Project Medishare’s Haiti Relief Task Force on the Miller School campus.
Bogue never dreamed, though, that Haiti’s WX4NHC, an offshoot of the ham station Ripoll founded at the National Hurricane Center as an architecture student 30 years ago, would evolve into a vital lifeline that has saved countless lives.