During the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti,
a falling cement block gave this four-yearold
girl a large gash, which Dr. Baxter
says took 45 minutes to clean.
When Charles Baxter, D.C., headed to
Haiti following that’s country’s catastrophic
earthquake on January 12, he was returning
to a place his heart had never left.
“I was in Haiti over 10 years ago in Les
Cayes on a missionary trip performing
chiropractic,” he recalls. “On the trip I was
told a famous Haitian quote by the priest I
stayed with, ‘Many people come to change
Haiti, however, it will change you first.’”
After watching news coverage of the earthquake,
Dr. Baxter called one of his Haitian
patients in the U.S., Gama Parayson, to see
if his family back in Haiti was okay and to
offer to pay for a flight to Haiti. Dr. Baxter
also offered to accompany Mr. Parayson so
that he could provide his services for free,
which the Haitian was happy to accept.
Once in Haiti, the two headed to Grand
Goave, where Mr. Parayson’s family runs a
called the Mission
by the earthquake,
The first patient Dr. Baxter saw in a nearby
town had a compound fracture of his
femur and infected open wounds. As the
day went on, the 1995 Davenport Campus
graduate saw many more people with
fractures, dislocations and spinal injuries—
most caused by cement walls that had
fallen on them during the earthquake.
One four-year-old girl had a 4½ by 1½
inch gash on her occiput after a cement
block fell eight feet and struck her on the
head. The girl’s injuries deeply affected Dr.
Baxter as earlier that day he had called his
wife and learned that their four-year-old
daughter was having a difficult time with
him being gone.
“At the clinic, a doctor and I spent 45
minutes cleaning her wound,” said Dr.
Baxter of the young patient. “This little
girl sat there and never moved, never
flinched, and never shed a tear. I did get
several hugs later, though.”
Back at the orphanage, Dr. Baxter’s first
patient was a woman with a neck injury.
After he adjusted her, she shared her
positive experience with others. This
led to even more patients coming to
Dr. Baxter for relief.
The girl above was unable to place any
weight on her left sacroiliac joint after the
earthquake caused a cement wall to land
on her. Dr. Baxter examined her and
adjusted her prone, using her father for
both comfort and lack of a proper table.
Following her adjustment, she was able to
bear weight immediately after 15 days of
being unable to walk.
“I was received very well by the people I
saw and by the people I adjusted,” said
Dr. Baxter. “Because chiropractic has a
minimal at best history in Haiti, the people
had no idea what I was doing or what
to expect. Thankfully, chiropractic works
and it transcends language and race.”
“We as a profession must come to terms
with the idea that we can be and are
primary healthcare providers,” he said.
“We need to be in the forefront of disasters
like Haiti, Katrina and Chile—not as idle
observers but willing participants.”
Dr. Baxter will be returning to Haiti this
summer in hopes of establishing a permanent
location for chiropractic care. If you’d
like to assist Dr. Baxter with his work, you
may contact him at P.O. Box 363, Athol,