A fund has been established to aid a Barbadian-American medical doctor who was severely injured in a recent fatal bus accident in Honduras.
Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte told Caribbean Life on Monday, in an exclusive interview, that a “gofundme” has started in Dr. Ricardo Orlando Dunner’s name.
Bichotte, who’s Dr. Dunner’s sister-in-law, said the public can make financial contributions at: https://www.gofun
She said Dr. Dunner has returned to New York after suffering injuries in the accident, on Jan. 13, east of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa.
Dunner was there on a medical mission with Columbia and Barnard University medical students, Bichotte said. Three students were killed in the accident.
Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said the mission was serving poor Honduras families.
After completing the week-long mission, Bichotte said Dr. Dunner and the medical students were on their way to the airport to return home.
But, she said, the bus veered off of the mountain road, plunging at least 260 feet (80 meters) into a ravine.
“The cause of the crash is still unclear, though it may have been due to automobile mechanical failure,” said Bichotte, disclosing that the three deaths reported were those of Columbia University students, Olivia Varley Erhardt, Daniella Moffson and Abigail Flanagan, a Trinidadian-American whose funeral was last Friday.
Bichotte said Flanagan, a nurse practitioner, is succeeded by her husband, Dennis Flanagan, and two sons, Patrick and Kevin Flanagan. She said Patrick Flanagan, the organizer of the trip, is a medical student.
“She [Abigail Flanagan] and the other victims have been described as a light to the campus, and well known, respected and loved,” Bichotte said.
Bichotte said while the medical mission aims to help the underprivileged, it was scheduled to be cancelled until Dr. Dunner, who practices medicine in the Bronx, stepped in.
He was asked by Columbia University to volunteer, chaperone and assist the Columbia medical students, Bichotte said.
“He humbly accepted,” said Bichotte, adding that Dr. Dunner, who specializes in internal medicine, with a specialization in HIV and Substance Abuse, was airlifted and medivac to New York Presbyterian Columbia University Hospital in Manhattan, where he underwent successful surgery early last week.
Bichotte said the U.S. Embassy had called her to Honduras to assist her brother-in-law.
She said she immediately left the Governor’s State of the State address in Albany.
“It was a very devastating experience having to sit on a plane for seven hours to Honduras not knowing if my brother-in-law was alive,” the assemblywoman said.
“People lost their lives; people were injured doing God’s work,” she said. “I pray for all those and their families affected, and will keep those who sacrificed their lives in our heart.”
Bichotte said Dr. Dunner has since been discharged from the hospital “to rest at his home in Queens.”
“We thank Dr. Dunner for his heroic effort in this overall mission,” she said.