Mission to Haiti: It’s Like a Scene from the Civil War

Dr. David Ansell, chief medical officer at Rush, sent this e-mail on Saturday, January 30 at approximately 2:30 p.m. (CST)

I have lost track of all the days down here.  It’s Saturday. We have divided our team in three or four parts. We get up at 6:00 or so a.m.  One team has been covering the General Hospital. The best way to describe it is as the Cook County Hospital of Port-au-Prince.  We are staffing tents full of patients, perhaps about 120 patients. It’s like a scene from the Civil War.  Wounds are infected. We have patients with medical and neurological conditions as well. The needs are overwhelming.  Our doctors have begun to staff the Medical ICU at Port-au-Prince Hospital which is a like a dungeon but filled with the sickest patients . We are sending the sickest patients to the US Comfort. Dark. No electricity. Few doctors. Fewer nurses. Less equipment. But we do our best. 

The second team has been doing primary care. For the last two days in a section of the city called Carrefour, they have seen hundreds of patients. 

Today, they are outside a tent city refugee camp outside the collapsed Presidential Palace. They brought a very sick one-year-old in an ambulance to the hospital and I ran her to the pediatric tent for teatment. It looks just like the adult tents, full of sick and injured kids. The third group is doing anesthesia and orthopedic surgery at the newest and best equipped hospital in the city. Dr. Dutton, has teamed up with an ENT surgeon from the General Hospital and is operating at Doctors Without Borders

I met a classmate from medical school yesterday and others have met old friends and colleagues as well. A Haitian American doctor, an expert in disaster relief is interviewing at Rush for CV surgery next year. I had her meet Dr. McCarthy.  Dr. Jamil Bayram, an ER doctor from Rush and Joel Augustin, a Rush family medicine doctor I have known for thirty years, just arrived.  Spirits are high. The task is enormous. We could not do it without the support of our families, friends and colleagues. The upcoming needs are for physical therapists, primary care and ER, nurses and reconstructive surgeons. That’s all for now. Back to work.

One thought on “Mission to Haiti: It’s Like a Scene from the Civil War

  1. Pingback: Native of Haiti Reflects on Medical Mission to his Homeland « Rush University Medical Center News Blog

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