Thursday, January 28, 2010

Update, Wednesday January 27

Update, Wednesay January 28th

Our day started out with the medical evacuation of an 8 week old boy. He had surgery at the Hospital St. Michel for an abdominal problem and went into Congestive Heart Failure (fluid on the lungs) after the operation. I had tried yesterday to get him evacuated to Port au Prince or the US ship but everything was full. Overnight, one of the members of the team at the hospital made personal contacts through the military and he was accepted on the US ship.

When brought to the airport, the baby was on a ventilator and arrived in a small basket. I spoke with the parents to explain the situation and had to ask them to chose which parent would go with the child. The father decided to go, and the mother was very upset when I told her (in my broken Creole) to say goodbye to the baby. The baby, father, anesthesist and RN were transported via a US helicopter to the USS Comfort. They returned shortly after and said the baby did well in transport.

Later today we met to discuss the referral process for medical evacuations. Unfortunately the roads are still very poor in Port au Prince and true emergency must be flown by helicopter. I met with the Canadian DART representative and a contact from Cayes Jacmel Hospital (which is now our main operable facility in the area). The main goal is to keep patients in the country as much as possible. Milot Hospital in Northern Haiti has some of the best facilities at present. There is also the Partners in health Unit in Port au Prince along with the Miami base. We are attempting to get information from the Health Cluster in PAP as they should have this referral network established.

Airport operations have slowed down in terms of food and medical supplies. Food at present in the city is being distributed through the world food program and our storage facility is almost empty. Medical supplies have slowed too though I heard we may be getting more tomorrow.

I have a contact at Health Partners International that I have requested med packs from. Hopefully we'll get those flown down in the next several days. We have many teams coming to the area and these packs are ideal for mobile clinics.

At 4:00 it was time for the Health Cluster meeting. Dr. Delouche and several other local groups were there. I gave the update from the Logistics end of things and also the mobile clinics. Two I my new volunteers are working in that group. The current docs are preparing to leave and we are now trying to coordinate replacements for them. We are also going to provide coverage to areas in the more remote parts of the city, and ensure we have doctors at the refugee camps, which are now at 6000 and 1800, and a growing one of 500 people.

I met with a contact from the Dominican Red Cross after. We are working together to get supplies to Haiti. We are forming a needs list, and I will be facilitating pickup and distribution of all supplies.

On the medical front, we are still seeing plenty of patients with fractures and open wounds. One doctor said that she didn't realize just how important rehab medicine would be needed at this time. She is seeing already a lot of amputations that are having difficulty with healing and will need secondary repair. The orthopedic and general surgeons are going to be busy in this area for a long time.

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