Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Haiti Relief Medical team: Days 1-3

Technology leaves us begging formore and more, all the while giving us a reliablity on machines that leave us helpless when we don't have them or they don't work. This is one of those times. I have not had anything that works and have been begging tech time from those who do have technology that works. Smoke signals are more reliable.

We arrived at the airport after boarding the charter flight, with only 30of us on board and a whole lot of cargo. The airport at P-a-P was chaos. We parked on the tarmac in between C-130's and helicopters, charter jets and rpivate jets, all crowding to together like people on a morning rush subway. We unloaded our cargo and waited on the tarmac for our ride which eventually came and off to our base. An ahour and a half later we arrived, passing by a mass grave, with thousands of passed souls, piled under the bright lights, watched over bybulldozers who moved them without feeling. The smell was horrific. We met 3 other teams atthe base: a gorup of doctors who wereworking in hospitals providing post op care ,and an ob-gyn doc who did an emergecny C-section without anesthesis, losing themother and the baby. We went to bed early and rose a 6.1 afterschock. The building shook, we ran and got out without damnge to us or the building we were in. We drove to Carrefour, a poor community in the town of P-a-P and set up a field unit at the end of a small street surrounded by collapsed buildings and the smell of rotting bodies. Just 300 yards from us a person was pulled from the rubble.We saw alot of trauma: fracture femurs, ankles, arms, legs, lacerations, concussions and a comatose woman. 2 baibeis, both under 24 days of age were brought in severly dehydrated. The mothers had not eaten since the original earthquake and had no breast milk left. We placed IV, poured in IV solutions and one baby recovered and the other remainded marginal when we left. We'll see them both tomorrow again. We certainly had a different experience than usual. The devastation taht we saw is what you see on TV, but the feeling you have, the look in the peoples eyes, the smells, the atmosphere can onlybe felt when you are here. And it is not a very good feeling.

We return tomorrow. More will come. We will place casts, sutrue, debride wounds, clean abrasions, give IV fluids and pray. And wonder just why...why this has to happen at all. No questioning, just wonder. The answers will not be there for questions asked, but we will wonder all the same. And give thanks for what we have....