Day 11 of the Earthquake Emergency
In today’s Medical staff conference, Dr. Maibach led a discussion with the physicians of the state of transition at the hospital, from the emergency situation, with more than 500 patients, to the conditions of today, where many of the corridors have been cleared of cots and gurneys. Patients who arrive at HAS now are almost exclusively from this region, and present with the expected health conditions for this season. Normal procedures are being followed for the diagnosis and treatment of these patients in pediatrics and adult medicine, with the exception that admissions to the wards will be restricted, due to the large number of post-operative patients who fill the inpatient bays.
In surgery, new patients are primarily local, with motorbike injuries or other accidents. However, the daily workload for the surgery teams is still quake-related. A large number of major cases were processed overnight and into the morning, and as of 7 AM, the hall to the OR was re-stocked with patients in the queue for procedures. All 3 rooms are in full use, staffed by the Atlanta orthopedics group, the NYMed trauma surgeons, and the Sherbrooke University team, along with the HAS surgical staff.
The Haitian medical staff reported on what they were hearing from their colleagues in Port-au-Prince; there is an awareness that the actual resources, especially for surgical care, are limited, and they are dependent on the temporary services of the international agencies which have set up tent cities to manage the immediate crisis, and will soon pack up the tents to go home. What will happen then is unknown, but we assume that people in need of surgical care will continue to seek services here.
One member of the staff likened this to a wave, which crashes to the shore, and then retreats, but builds strength and returns to crash on the shore again. HAS board member Scott Dowell will be in Port-au-Prince with a governmental delegation to assess the future needs of the health system in Haiti, and we look forward to being able to contribute to that assessment and the planning process which will follow.