10. March 2010 13:38
Seven members of the third team deployed from the University of Chicago Medical Center to the field hospital in Fond Parisien arrived home Monday, March 8, in the evening. Karen Arndt, RN, reported that on the flight home from Miami a woman sitting behind her was having an asthma attack and was losing consciousness. Karen helped the woman and gave her oxygen and checked her vitals. A team of paramedics were waiting when the plane landed at O'Hare and Karen helped the woman off the plane. So, even leaving Haiti, Karen had to keep working as a flight nurse!
3. March 2010 19:11
As promised, I've uploaded several batches of photos:
27. February 2010 17:10
It looks like it’s going to rain here. That makes some people nervous. Will it flood their tents, ruin their belongings hanging on the poles outside? “I want rain, but not bad rain,” said Nicole Muse, RN. Bad rain means washouts and tents that float away. I was told that every year thousands of people die in this area during the rainy season. Here the tents are staged on a slight hill. But there are multiple families in each tent, as many as four patients and their families. Word passed this morning about the Chilean earthquake of 8.8 and everyone wondered if the devastation was similar to that at Port-au-Prince. Early reports said there were 85 recorded deaths, but people here suspect more. They also fear that with such a big earthquake elsewhere that the waning attention in Haiti will end. The camp has officially run out of tents to give to patients who are discharged. About 10 families were discharged today. Seven chose to go back to Port-au-Prince on a Tap Tap, the taxi bus that ferries people. Three patients opted for the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp about a mile away run by ARC. There the families sleep in tents but they prepare their own food. Fran O’Hanlan, 22, is a medical student in Scotland who happened to be in the Dominican Republic when the earthquake happened. He joined the field camp here soon after. O’Hanlan’s main job is discharging patients, which can be frustrating since many don’t want to go or don’t have a home to go to. Mostly he discharges patients who ask to leave. “They are sick of being hospitalized,” he said of the ones who ask to leave. “Even if there isn’t a home to go to they don’t want to be here anymore. They want to get on with it. Get on with rebuilding their lives, their homes.” O’Hanlan says he’s seeing an increased willingness for patients to go home as time goes on. The ones who are leaving now know they will have to build a structure out of whatever material they can find, or see if they can stay with relatives. The wind is really blowing hard and the tarps are whipping about, tents are leaning. The camp is also short of wheelchairs. Today one of the nurses found a tent full of wheelchairs but the patients in the tent all had arm injuries. “The wheelchairs are more comfortable to sit on,” explained Keegan Checkett, MD, a resident at the Medical Center. Checkett said the field hospital hasn’t changed that much in the kinds of patients it is seeing — those who need wound care, amputees and those who have external fixators. The biggest change, she said, is that word has spread in the local community that there are skilled doctors here. A woman came yesterday with a one-year-old baby who was delayed and couldn’t sit up. She was disappointed when doctors didn’t give her pills to make her baby better. “They thing we can do magic,” one of the triage doctors explained. Others come with problems that they’ve had for awhile. An asthmatic showed up this morning. As word spreads about the camp, more people turn up to “visit” or seek jobs. People even show up from Port-au-Prince. Visiting hours end at 1 p.m. but there are still several dozen who take advantage of the food line before they leave. Tonight the rain will make it difficult to move the two operating igloos, but it may make it easier for us to sleep.
Keegan Checkett attends a man who has arrived back from the US Comfort Navy Ship
27. February 2010 10:23
Team Chicago #3 has been in country nearly a week and we're starting to absorb the enormity of the problems of this country. This week we've a number of transports from a hospital in Jimini, DR, that is closing and sending us their patients. We've also received several of our own patients back from the USS Comfort where they were sent for treatment that we couldn
't offer here.
Every day a new team arrives and another leaves. A team from Ecuador left the other night. New teams shift in and out from Operation Smile, who lead surgeries. The tents are extremely hot and sometimes the nurses and patients prefer to be cared for outside, in between tents or just outside their tents. A large tent is about to be built where the staff can have meetings and the two surgery igloo tents will have to be moved.
Karen Arndt, RN, is taking over the pharmacy and is also helping to train a Haitian to assist doctors in getting drugs. Karen is a flight nurse, so she has to rush from pharmacy whenever she hears the roar of the helicopter overhead.
This morning I watched Chris Sullivan, MD, place an interior fixator in a 62-year-old man who was having trouble with the exterior fixator that he'd come to camp with. Chris said he had adjusted it the day before but the patient was complaining the adjustment was hurting. With the help with another doctor from Operation Smile, they removed the external fixator and inserted an internal rod. I watched the surgery, which was a bit like carpentry with all the gadgets. (I hope to upload photos later. I'm not allowed to upload during the day because the hospital needs the lines) No one is ready to go home, but they see how work needs to be done and wish they could stay longer than two weeks. Melanie Plumley, RN, assessed the situation this way: "There's never enough people. There's always something to do. I can't do enough. It's hot. I want to stay. Two weeks is not enough. I can't even get all the dressings done just to see everyone. I wonder how they stand the heat. They are very vulnerable people. If I had to stay here, you'd have to pack me in ice. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. It's like we went camping. The reality of the wounds though is this is going to be a stump generation."
25. February 2010 07:42
Top photo: A young man in Port-au-Prince whose home was destroyed in the earthquake. He is living out of the garage. Middle photo: The tent city outside the presidential palace. Bottom photo: A couple plays Dominos outside their tent in the street. Their home was destroyed by the earthquake.
25. February 2010 07:35
Yesterday Christian Theodosis and I made a trip into Port-au-Prince. Christian had a meeting with the assistant to the Ministry of Health whose signature was imperative for the camp to file for UN funding. After much waiting, we were finally granted an audience with Claude Surena. He was quite charming and he and Christian hit it off. Afterwards Christian showed me around to some of the most devastated neighborhoods.
Top: A man digs out his barber shop one shovel at a time. Bottom: Shacks built on the hillside that were destroyed in the earthquake.
24. February 2010 08:09
Top: Karen Arndt, Chief flight nurse at UCMC, with the young Haitian men she trained to take patients off helicopter transports. Bottom: Workers in kitchen.