Thursday, January 21, 2010

Google Maps: Community Hospital of Haiti / L’Hôpital de la Communauté Haïtienne

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Thursday Afternoon Update

We partnered with a surgical team from Sweden. Getting better organized. Enjoyed can of tuna for lunch. Dr. Vanek took leadership and our surgical instruments and team are collaborating with Sweden and we have a full service team with continuous care of the pre and postoperative patients. Dr. Vanek and our team operated until 3am last night on very critically ill trauma patients and they are dramatically improved today. One of our hand case left the hospital without our consent. This is common. Technical surgical conditions have improved by having electrocautery and having sterile drapes. Prior to cautery patient blood loss was almost frightening, but now we only lose about 500cc on a leg amputation. Anesthesia monitoring is improved with a working pulse oximeter. We have 4 ORs now, they did a Cesarean Section yesterday. We have post op patients in 26 rooms.

Our best friend is a Special Ops soldier who checks on us regularly. We give him status reports on everything and he brings us whatever we need. No questions asked. We love his gung-ho attitude. Those folks make miracles happen every day.

I lost most of my clothes but I rummaged through bags of donated items and I'm good again. Back to surgery.

Thursday Morning Update

In any other circumstances it would be called romantic, adventurous, fun...sleeping under the stars in the Caribbean. But, Jack woke up on the roof top of the hospital in a sleeping bag with a mosquito net over his head, maybe 5 hours of sleep, to the harsh realities of another day in the makeshift OR. This is his description:

L’Hôpital de la Communauté Haïtienne

This is the hospital where we work. There are patients on cots all around the hospital waiting to get help. Many are afraid to come in the building because they fear it will collapse in another aftershock. Mostly injured limbs and fractures. Seeing a lot of gangrene and treating quickly with amputations under spinal anesthesia. The scope of the problem is enormous.
The other staff is helpful. But this feels like a war. I never saw surgery performed with so little equipment and basic monitors. Haiti was incredibly poor before the quake when unemployment was 75%. The relief effort and reconstruction may take ten years per the Special Ops soldier we talk to ( Lieutenant Colonel Wilson).

Jack describes everyone he meets as generous, helpful and "unbelievably humanitarian".