Monley's Story

By Margaret Aguirre - January 23, 2010


  • Five-year-old Monley, orphaned by the earthquake, is rescued by his uncle after eight days in the rubble.
  • Dr. Neil Joyce of the International Medical Corps finds the pair on the roadside, administers electrolytes, and brings them to the General Hospital where he was treated by International Medical Corps staff.
  • Monley was badly dehydrated and malnourished, but had few injuries.
  • Monley visits the hospital daily for check-ups

Day 1

“I want some juice” were the first words whispered by five-year-old Monley, a remarkable little boy who survived eight days beneath the rubble of his collapsed apartment.

We intercepted Monley dirt-caked and feeble, in the streets of Port-au-Prince, just after his uncle had uncovered him from the blocks of cement that killed his parents. One of our doctors, Neil Joyce, was driving by when he saw a man rushing into the street with an emaciated boy in his arms. Dr. Joyce quickly got them in the car, gave him electrolytes, and rushed them to the General Hospital, near the collapsed presidential palace, where we are providing medical care.

He was severely dehydrated. He had a few scrapes, but miraculously, no fractures or serious wounds. With some fluid and basic care, little Monley was going to live.

His uncle sat with Monley in the International Medical Corps clinic while doctors and nurses put him on an IV and handed him bottles of water to pump fluid back into his body. After a couple hours, they gave him some rice.

As the minutes passed, Monley gained more and more strength. He knew his name and could identify his uncle. He was ready to leave. We dressed him in an X-Men t-shirt and Spiderman shorts and sent him to the pediatric ward overnight, just as a precaution.

We watched as his uncle scooped him up and carried him to the pediatric ward, knowing that we had witnessed a miracle on an island where tragedy is inescapable and ever present.

Day 2

The very next day, Monley came back to our clinic for a visit.

Still dressed in his X-Men t-shirt and Spiderman shorts, Monley looked completely different, a scarce resemblance from the skin-and-bones boy who laid on our table the day before. Color was back in his face. He was sturdy on this own two feet. He had a cough, but his condition was incredible.

One of our nurses, Gaby, who cared for him the day before asked his uncle to bring him back tomorrow so we can monitor him, just to be safe.

Day 3

As directed, Monley’s uncle brought Monley back to our clinic at the General Hospital. His belly was very distended and his cough had not gone away.

Our doctors confirmed he has mild pneumonia, but we have the medications to treat it. He will be fine, but we will keep monitoring him to be sure that he recovers quickly and completely.

Day 4 and on

Monley continues to come into the International Medical Corps' clinic for daily check-ups. See photos from his visit during the week of January 25th at the left.


Click here to visit our Rapid Response Haiti Page.

Anderson Cooper's continuing coverage of International Medical Corps and Monley in Haiti