PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Doctors say that the Haiti earthquake victim thought to have endured 27 days trapped under the rubble has become lucid and that what he says backs up his incredible survival story.
Evans Monsigrace was carried into a Salvation Army clinic on Monday by two rescuers who said that they found him while picking through the ruins of a flea market.
Stick thin and severely dehydrated, with festering open wounds on both feet, Monsigrace spoke ramblingly, convinced that he was still trapped and begging to die, medical staff reported.
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But yesterday the 28-year-old rice seller began to talk sensibly, and doctors now say it is feasible that he survived on water and perhaps some fruit, although his story cannot be independently checked.
Monsigrace has told them that he had just finished selling rice for the day at the city center market when the quake hit. He didn’t suffer any major injuries, but was trapped on his side, in an area where food and drink vendors were selling their goods.
"Based on that [his story], we believe him," said Dr. Dushyantha Jayaweera, who works at the University of Miami Medishare field hospital where Monsigrace was transferred because he was in critical condition.
Jayaweera said that Monsigrace originally claimed that he had not had any water or food at all. However, doctors found that he had normal kidney function with only some heart palpitations, suggesting that he at least had drunk something, but not enough to avoid getting dehydrated.
Medical experts say that disaster survivors may be able to sustain themselves with a water supply and without medical attention for up to two weeks, as did Darlene Etienne, the 17-year-old Haitian survivor who was rescued after 15 days in which she reportedly sipped water from the bathroom.