Schwartz ’94 Provides Medical Assistance in Ecuador with Team Rubicon

during the hike to get one of these villages.  Some of the villages in Ecuador are rather remote in Jungle locations.  There are no roads.  Getting to these locations means walking through the Jungle to get there.  Many of the locals do it on Donkey back (we sorely regretted not taking more time to find donkeys, by the way).  It had recently rained the day before, and many of the usual trails were damaged or unpassable due to landslides and washout.  Where the trails were passable, the mud was as high as our hips and almost impossible to walk through.  We found it was easier to just hike IN the river at certain points rather than stay on the trails. 

“Some of the villages in Ecuador are rather remote in jungle locations,” says Dan Schwartz ’94, at right. “There are no roads. Many of the locals do it on donkey back (we sorely regretted not taking more time to find donkeys, by the way). It had recently rained, and many of the usual trails were washed out or damaged by landslides. Where the trails were passable, the mud was as high as our hips.  We found it was easier to just hike in the river at certain points rather than stay on the trails.”

Last spring, Dan Schwartz ’94 returned from Ecuador where he worked as a physician with Team Rubicon as a part of a rapid-deployment disaster medical assistance team after a 7.8M earthquake hit the area on April 16, 2016. Team Rubicon provided rescue, medical and reconnaissance aid to remote villages that could not be reached by the local government or non-governmental organizations.

“One of our mottos is, ‘We go where the others can’t or won’t,” Schwartz says.

Team Rubicon, a group of military veterans and first responders, was formed in 2010. In its first mission, the team brought lifesaving equipment and supplies to Haiti, which had been devastated by an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0.

Schwartz joined Team Rubicon in 2015, only a year and a half before getting that phone call on April 21. “‘Can you go to Ecuador? Let us know—your flight leaves in eight hours.’” He was on board.

Schwartz, the medical director of the emergency medical services at Forbes Hospital in Monroeville, Pa., is also a tactical support physician for the FBI SWAT team in Pittsburgh and a flight surgeon with the U.S. Army, serving in Afghanistan in 2012. “There’s a little bit of crazy in this,” he admits. “I’m going to show up in a country where I don’t speak the language, the country is in crisis, and the infrastructure is nonexistent.

“Team Rubicon an extension of what I do as a career,” Schwartz notes. “It’s intensely satisfying: we serve people, our country, each other, without going to war.”

.  The two with the children were during some of the Recon missions where we went to some remote locations and set up a medical clinic. 

Schwartz plays with a child at the medical clinic.

The two with the children were during some of the Recon missions where we went to some remote locations and set up a medical clinic. 

“It’s an extension of what I do as a career—and intensely satisfying,” says Schwartz, of his work with Team Rubicon. He is a physician specializing in emergency medicine in Monroeville, Pa.