Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More on Haiti

We have several Doctor friends with HCJB who are currently in Haiti on an emergency response team. Here's a letter from one of them from a few days ago...

We are running out of diesel and instruments and clean sheets so I'll take advantage of at least a partial slowdown to fill you in.

Arrived Friday morning to Haiti airport aboard a luxurious Leer jet ... flight donated apparently by the owner for relief.

Arrived Haiti Baptist Mission Friday around three o'clock ... brief greeting and prayer from the exhausted folks who were manning the guns until we arrived and then waded into the foray ... with hundreds of people in the corridors since the beds were long ago full and most of whom needed urgent surgery. In spite of a two ortho guys and an anesthesiologist there are so many other limiting factors for how much surgery you can do ... but managed to get about ten cases in before quitting at midnight. Unfortunately the fastest ones are often the most urgent ... amputations. Six hours sleep and yesterday had a full day and did about 15 surgeries. Us non surgical types were out on the floors trying to triage which cases were most likely to get complicated if left longer ... Sepsis, infected compound fractures and little kids made up our priority list. 15 cases on Saturday ... still finishing after midnight ..more complicated cases that second day.

Now ... everything is short ... diesel for the electric plant to keep the OR going, cast material, surgical supplies for "fixing" fractures, food water .... everything except patients who continue to come in ... changing the surgery list for the day as more advanced cases come in.

But ... praise the Lord ... people are trickling out too which is sort of a miracle in itself. I have asked almost all my patients that look like they could go home soon ... do you have a home to return to ...
100% "no" so far. Some have relatives who lived higher up in the hills ... but many of of the ones who could go home would eventually need surgery and getting back and forth would be so hard.

Yesterday's hardest moment was being called to take a picture of a little girl who looked to be 10 years old. She had just died ... we didn't even know she was in the hospital. I suppose the docs who were here before us knew she wouldn't make it so put us to work on the ones who could. The lady who translated for me ... whispered into my ear ... "this is the sixth of their nine children who has died from this earthquake. They just want a picture" ... (Well figure out how to get it to them). Heartache and tragedy are soooo relative.

Last night's last patient to be seen by Mark Nelson ... a two year old with a large wound to her left leg and complete fragmented bones ... tibia and fibula ... and lots of infection in wound. Mark wasn't sure what he would find so decided to clean the wound under an anesthesia called Ketalar which leaves kids looking like they are sort of awake but not feeling anything. Cleaning the wound and finding such an important injury put her first on the schedule today ... she will be next in when the "lights go on". Then we all heard her start singing ... first in sort of a low voice and later stronger ... and it seemed happier!! It was in creole so of course none of useless Spanish and English speakers could know what she was saying ... but a translator brightened up nearby and said she is singing "I am saved, I am saved, I am saved ......"

Here's a website of a missionary with Baptist Haiti Mission. They run the clinic where the Doctor's are serving.

DSC_9992 by HCJB Global.

DSC_9983 by HCJB Global.

IMG_0324 by HCJB Global.

IMG_0323 by HCJB Global.

IMG_0291 by HCJB Global.

Please pray for wisdom, stamina, availability of needed supplies, continued water supply, and diesel.
Also, pray for the family members that are back at home.

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