I am sorry that I haven’t been in better touch, but communication has been difficult. We are at Croix des Bouquets which is at Double Harvest Mission which is a health center with two ORs and a somewhat sustainable farm run by VanWingerden family. They have been incredibly accommodating during the disaster. Double Harvest is partnered with Partners In Health who is running a good deal of the medical care in Haiti which has otherwise been quite fragmented by many teams trying to do their part.
We arrived in Haiti on Monday morning via charter on 1/18/10. This facility was identified as a potentially cleaner, safer place to perform surgery and care for the injured. Once we were transported there we began caring for severely injured patients with crushed and mangled extremities. We were able to get the OR up and working and have had an incredible team of doctors and nurses and other volunteers to help us.
We have had teams from Boston, Charlotte, Palatka, Florida,Toledo, and Los Angeles at various times as well as intermittent short term personal. We’ve seen up to 500 patients per day in a clinic setting, in addition to caring for bus and truck loads of other patients with very badly injured extremities from the initial earthquake. Primarily were forced to do amputations because many of the limbs were not salvageable. We have been able to do some reconstructive work in upper extremities to salvage hands and arms and some limited fracture fixations.
We now have a new team from Ohio who has arrived today and will be getting some work. We also have Dr. Bielema, Dr. Ringler, Matt Weigle, PAC as well as two anesthesiologists Dr. Donn and Dr. Dean who joined us last night and got right to work.
Over the first several days we ran 24-hours continuously in the operating room, but the initial flow of severely injured and yet untreated patients have diminished such as we are handling things on a more elective and daytime basis. We expect to have 200 newly orphaned children staying at the school here within the next 24 hours. We have established procedures and protocols, medical records and patient identification and fairly rigid processes for patient safety and consistency and we continue to evolve.
I have been in charge since I arrived on the scene. I would estimate that we have treated close to 2,000 patients total and have done approximately 150 operations as well as many other minor procedures and fracture care.
I have transitioned, after having established a leadership hierarchy to assisting in turning over the operations to a new team.
I estimate that there will be ongoing needs here literally for a generation. In the immediate short term we will need approximately 20 people total on the ground here at least for the next two to three weeks. This would include three orthopedists, one general surgeon, two to three anesthesia providers, 8-10 nurses, a pharmacist, and a PA as well as logistical support for processing, supply chain management and cooking and housekeeping duties.
We have been tremendously blessed with assistance from other countries and aid organizations such that we are now fairly well stocked to continue to provide care.
The VanWingerden’s have expressed their willingness to continue to support a medical presence here conceptually indefinitely. I would expect that we will have a great need for prosthetic, orthotic and mobility aids but that the bulk of that need will not occur for another four to six weeks until the residual limbs are stabilized and clean enough to allow some initial fitting. Made our own fixation devices, crutches, and other items.
We still have ongoing need for supplies, and a mini-c-arm is the most important.
We did deliver a healthy baby boy in our most uplifting moment to date. I expect he will be placed immediately for adoption. There will be a major effort to assist him and other orphaned children, and information is available on-line.
Your support is greatly appreciated.
I expect to be home in 1-2 days.