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Handling the Case Load

Girl with grandmother

Photo by Michael Ashburn

We are now well into our third day of surgery. We have 12 big cases and several small cases scheduled. We are trying not to do too many cases, but the local hospital is now asking to take care of more and more people The hospital has stayed at 200% normal patient count, and they are admitting 10-15 patients a day as more people leave PoP [Port-au-Prince]. Many are trauma patients who require surgical care.

"Her Momma is Dead"

This young lady is a 12-year-old girl with a femur fracture. As she was waking up from her procedure she was calling for her momma, a term recognizable in most any language. The response, which we have heard before, was "Her momma is dead." We returned this young lady to a living grandmother.


This report was written by Michael Ashburn, MD, MPH, MBA, during his participation in Haitian relief efforts through Penn Medicine in coordination with Partners in Health.


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