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An Influx of Injured and Sick

patient transport in the Cange medical facility

Photo by Michael Ashburn

Today is turning into a day of change. We woke up to find about 1,500 people sleeping around the compound. Apparently the thousands fleeing Port- Au-Prince have made it to Cange. Since there is nowhere else to go, and the compound offers some security, sleep and food, they are now here.

As a result, we are receiving an influx of injured and sick. We saw several new patients now scheduled for surgery, and expect more as people are processed through the long line that is forming in front of the Emergency Room. We have a busy day already scheduled, and expect things to get busier as the day goes on.

New issues for the hospital and our team come with the influx of so many people who need so much. The compound is making every effort to help, but there are no tents, and people are sleeping on the ground in the open. Security is increasing, and we are taking appropriate measures for our own safety. However, we have so far had absolutely no problems with personal security. We hope to keep it that way.

Cases and Successes

Rounds today included a cardiac arrest. A patient admitted for heart failure decided to quit breathing while we were rounding. I am pleased to report that our chief orthopedic surgeon still knows how to do CPR. We were successful in establishing spontaneous pulse and respiration, but her future is uncertain.

In the operating room we have 9 cases scheduled so far. Five are major ortho cases, the rest are skin grafts to close wounds. Two of these cases are urgent add-ons, and we are prepared for more.

Boy with sheets and toy

A success story. Photo by Michael Ashburn

The little guy [at right] is one of our success stories. The lucky children have a toy and a parent or other loved one with them. When resources exist, the family brings sheets from home for them to sleep on.

The children here are so good, considering what they have gone through. They have beautiful smiles and are very affectionate. Parents are caring and loving. Amazing people, really.

School Closed

Our local physicians tell us that before the earthquake one of the major gifts to the community was a school run on the grounds. Unfortunately, many of the teachers were in PoP at the time of the earthquake, and those that were here lost many lived ones. As a result, the school is closed with no ability to reopen anytime soon.

Music Lessons

Music Lessons

Photo by Michael Ashburn

As more people arrive, the makings of a small community seem to form.

This afternoon several groups of children of different ages are practicing outside. Our bet (not yet confirmed) is that this is the usual time for school-related music, and even though there are no teachers, the children are doing whatever parts of their normal lives that they still can.

Bad music never sounded so good!


 

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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