As you may have heard another physician and I went to the Dominican Republic yesterday to bring back a sizable group of Haitian refugees. These are folks who traveled more than 100 kilometers away from the site of the earthquake to seek treatment. Many of them ended up in a facility which was not adequate for their needs. Further, the orthopaedic care that the hospital there was able to provide was somewhat limited. Finally they hoped to return to the areas that they are natives of, the region surrounding us.
We traveled first to a town near the Dominican Republic border, Belledere. Because of logistical issues we ended up staying overnight at one of the PIH houses until we could travel across the border the next day. We traveled to San Juan, Dominican Republic to a hospital which was initially an obstetrical hospital which had considerable orthopaedic capabilities. They were doing a few nails there, but open nailing without C-arm. They had no fixator capability.
We returned with two buses and three loads of patients for care at our hospital. Because of logistical issues we needed to transfer them once across the border to a flatbed truck and a large bus. Because of the bumpy roads in the region this was essentially a ten hour transit and we arrived at about 2:00 a.m. at the hospital.
Our team met us there and we triaged and stabilized all before getting a bit of rest today.
Those of you who have read the blog and have seen the news realize that everything here is constantly changing. Caregivers change, plans change, patient needs change, resources change so fast that it is almost hard to keep track of things. It demands a lot of flexibility and a fair amount of patience and ingenuity.
I think that we are all realizing that we are doing the best with the resources we have available to us at present. We are hopeful that it will continue to improve.
Greg is helping develop a long-term plan for us and you might look for information from him. Jim is to write later regarding today’s news.