Relief workers raced to establish and expand medical services for victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti as the risk of infections and sepsis continued to mount.
Operating rooms at the main General Hospital in Port-au-Prince were back on line Jan. 19, supplementing the seven emergency ORs set up on the hospital’s grounds, according to an email from Andrew Marx, director of communications for Partners in Health. The hospital now has a working helicopter landing pad to receive the most critical patients. Outside the capital, masses of people left homeless by the magnitude 7.0 temblor are inundating hospitals and medical facilities as they flee the city. In Cange, about 35 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince, PIH’s Dr. Jon Crocker reported that patients overflowed from the clinic there into makeshift wards in a nearby church and school.
"People are still arriving from Port-au-Prince. Those who have been fortunate enough to survive their injuries this long are now running into complications of wound infections, some of which have turned septic, and venous blood clots (from immobility and trauma)," Crocker wrote in an email. "Patients are dazed. The disruption to their families and lives is beyond description. Many of our injured patients are not mobile, have few resources, have no home to return to, and many have lost their entire families.
"And yet amidst this darkness, there are rays of hope. Today a one-day-old baby girl was brought in. She was born on the streets of Port-au-Prince with clubbed feet. Her mother suffered lower extremity fractures in the quake and couldn’t really move, but labored successfully, lying adjacent to the rubble of her home. The parents were so worried about the baby that the baby’s father made his way to Cange with the child because he knew he could find care here. He did. The baby will be casted and staff here will show how to recast her as she grows."
The corporate world is pitching in, pledging to send cash and badly needed supplies and medical staff. A team of 12 doctors from Caritas Christi and about $1 million worth of medical equipment and supplies donated by Philips Healthcare was slated to leave from Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass., Jan. 20, headed for Sacre Coeur Hospital in Milot near the northern coast of Haiti. Skillman, N.J.-based ConvaTec pledged to send $400,000 worth of advanced wound dressings and skin care products from its plant in the neighboring Dominican Republic. Epocrates is offering its flagship software for free to any clinician working in Haiti, according to MedGadget.com. The company is donating premium subscriptions including drug, disease and diagnostic tools to doctors headed to Haiti. And Smith & Nephew (NYSE:SNN) pledged more than $2 million in orthopedic implants and surgical instruments, set to arrive within days.
MassDevice urges readers to join us in contributing to the relief efforts underway in Haiti. To make a donation to our friends at Partners in Health, please click here.