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Surgeries Slowing

I am pleased to report that the rush to the OR is slowing. We are moving from major ortho cases to wound care.

X-Ray of broken bone

As time goes on, the team is seeing more wound care cases, and fewer major orthopaedics cases such as this one. Photo by Samir Mehta.

Today we will do only 3 major ortho cases; the rest are wash outs and skin grafts.

Patients and staff are tired. They are 3 weeks into the earthquake and their injury. Many have undergone several operations. Each time they wake up they have lost (literally) another piece of themselves. Tears flow easily, and for good reason.

We are doing our best to use sedation as much as we safely can. In addition, we are working hard to get wounds clean enough to graft so that these folks do not have to return again to the OR.  In addition to morning rounds, we conduct "wound rounds," during which one of our Anesthesiologists and Surgeons change dressing and tend to wounds. This allows us to plan wound care going forward and to provide sedation, especially for the children. Our Anesthesiologists are getting rather good at wound care.

Today's OR cases range in age from 2 to 36. While we have done older people, many people here are young, and we have been told the average life expentancy is 52 years.

Patient Transport

Patient Transport

Patient transport in action. Photo by Michael Ashburn.

These guys work very hard. Since the wards are spread out, and the hospital is located on the side of a mountain, transport is by hand.

These guys are patient and treat the patients with kindness. To date we have never waited for a patient to arrive. As long as the schedule is printed they follow it.

Very imprssive group of men.

Strong, too.


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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