Sunday, February 21, 2010

Guest Post: Day 2 in Haiti

As Dr. Royer is in Haiti with the CHRISTUS team, updates on the team’s work there will be posted by the CHRISTUS Communications team in Dallas.

It is the rainy season in Haiti, and the team was slightly worried that rain would affect their work there, as the hospital is made up of 4 tents that are situated on lower ground. Luckily, though, there were a few sprinkles this morning, but they have not seen much rain otherwise. However, it is still extremely hot, so they are doing their best to keep cool and stay hydrated.

The CHRISTUS team has settled into a good routine, and has been joined by other clinicians from the U.S. Orthopedic Surgeon Jordan Post (CHRISTUS Santa Rosa - New Braunfels) has been named the chair of the hospital’s Orthopedics department for the week, and the CHRISTUS anesthesia team is heading the Anesthesia department for the week. Rae Thigpen (CHRISTUS St. Michael) is serving as Charge Nurse/Operating Room (OR) Supervisor over the 4 functioning ORs. The OR nurses from CHRISTUS are working together, and the team from the hospital report that the OR is operating better than ever. The nurses are working in two 12-12 shifts.

Dr. Royer is coordinating the wound care area, where they have seen 21 cases today. This area is operating as mini-outpatient OR, treating wounds for all surgical areas that can’t be treated because of lack of time or sterile conditions. Most people seen in wound care had crushed extremities, especially lower extremities. Most patients reported spending an average of 2 days under the rubble, although they have seen patients who spent up to 25 days trapped after the earthquake.

There are approximately 45 pediatric patients in the hospital, and our CHRISTUS pediatric surgeon will rotate call with another pediatric surgeon who arrived today.

The CHRISTUS chaplains have been working to offer prayers for patients and volunteers there, as well as visiting with patients and their families to listen to their experiences, which continue to be difficult to deal with.

The Medical Director currently at the hospital will leave tomorrow, so Dr. Royer will organize supplies and coverage to ensure everything is working well. The director has been in Haiti 5 days, and is predicting Haiti will lose another 200,000 people from malnutrition and infection. Dr. Royer says they are all deeply touched by the situation there.

The next set of injuries they’re starting to see are trauma from car accidents. People in the city are still sleeping in tents because the rubble is so intense and is therefore taking very long to clean up. People in downtown Port-au-Prince have been placing their tents on sidewalks and right up to the streets. As you can imagine, there is great danger that cars will hit people in these tents.

The team has hung the CHRISTUS flag up in one of the tents to remind them of their mission. The conditions are not sophisticated (no running water, cold showers, flooded port-a-potties), but they are doing the best with what they have, and remain firmly committed to the call of Bishop Dubuis to the founding Sisters of CHRISTUS Health, caring for the sick and suffering in a foreign land in the name of Jesus.

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