A Day in Haiti
January 26, 2010
Gheskio Field Hospital – Port au Prince, Haiti
International Medical Surgical Response Team
Disaster Medical Assistance Team
The entrance to the Field Hospital is guarded by the 82 Airborne. Triage is performed in the short hallway before the patient is brought back. Note the crack. It got larger with each aftershock.
Once the patient is triaged and entered into the Electronic Medical Records system they are brought back to one of several treatment areas. This is the Minor Treatment room on night shift.
Nurses operating in austere environments need to be a bit ingenious. This patient’s nurses rigged up a clever traction device. They joked that they used the chunk of concrete that broke the patient’s leg.
This orphan needed an incubator. ICU staff quickly made one. We named him “Baby in a box”.
Patients requiring more advanced procedures go to the “Procedure Room”. Here, conscious sedation is used to allow staff to perform wound debridement and other painful procedures.
This patient was “minding my own business” when he was shot with a shotgun. The pellets were removed in the Procedure Room and the patient was released with antibiotics.
Patients requiring advanced care are brought to the ICU, which also doubles as Post-Op.
This child was transferred to us from another hospital where he was rapidly deteriorating. He was stabilized in the ICU and transferred the next day to the USNS Comfort.
The pride and joy of the IMSuRT is our surgical capability. This is the view from the ICU/Post Op.
More than thirty operations were performed in the first week, including abdominal surgery, Cesarean Section delivery and many, many orthopedic cases. The surgeon second from the left, Dr. Carl Shulman, is from Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Medical Center in Miami.
Sometimes the children were brought in two to a litter to save space. These children, and four others, came in at the same time from a damaged orphanage. One child had a badly injured leg.
In spite of their best efforts surgeons had to amputate that child’s leg above the knee in order to save his life. The stress of dealing with these injuries is painful to endure day after day.
While we work hard to provide this level of care, the conditions are truly austere, especially for Americans that are not used to third-world countries.
But just to know you made a difference in one life makes it all worthwhile.
Peter Allen who took the photos and provided the text is with the IMSuRT team at the Gheskio Field Hospital, Port au Prince, Haiti.