Stories about: disaster relief

Children's and Project Medishare: reflections from the adult ward

Jill Merna, Nancy Joseph, Carla Odiago worked the night shift in the adult ward taking care of over 80 adult patients.
Jill Merna, Nancy Joseph, Carla Odiago worked nights taking care of over 80 adult patients.

From April 10 to 18, Children’s Hospital Boston sent a group of 26 clinicians to a field hospital in Haiti. Here, those who staffed the adult ward reflect on their experience.

Nancy Joseph, RN, BSN, MSN, FNP-C; staff nurse in CHPCC

This was my internal cry after arriving our first day. I thought I was going to lose my composure when those two women came in on the back of a truck requiring emergency C-sections.

Ayiti Cherie….
Bel mon, Bel moun, Bel lang
! a je!

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Children's and Project Medishare: reflections from the Emergency Department

The ER team: from left, Sarah Wingerter, MD, Stephen Monteiro, MS EMT-P, Sarita Chung, MD, Alexis Schmid, RN, Michelle Marini, RN.
The ER team: from left, Sarah Wingerter, MD, Stephen Monteiro, MS EMT-P, Sarita Chung, MD, Alexis Schmid, RN, Michelle Marini, RN.

From April 10 to 18, Children’s Hospital Boston sent a group of 26 clinicians to a field hospital in Haiti. Here, those who staffed the Emergency Department reflect on their experience.

Sarah Wingerter, MD, Division of Emergency Medicine

In retrospect it seems hard to believe we only spent 8 days in Haiti.  Each day was so intense and so replete with new experiences and powerful emotions.   I remain awestruck and humbled by the fortitude of the Haitians I met, both patients and Medishare staff members.  To know that they continue to work on putting their lives back together despite the unimaginable challenges they face has given me a new perspective on what used to seem like inconveniences in my own comfortable life.  I learned a great deal about patience, humility, and selflessness from patients and parents who waited hours in the sweltering heat—many after walking miles to reach the medical facility—for the opportunity to receive care for medical problems they had endured for months or even years.

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Children's and Project Medishare: Reflections from the pediatric wards

Grace Chan, MD, with two patients on the Pediatric floor.
Grace Chan, MD, with two patients on the Pediatric floor.

From April 10 to 18, Children’s Hospital Boston sent a group of 26 clinicians to a field hospital in Haiti. Here, those who staffed the pediatric wards reflect on their experience.

Grace Chan MD, Boston Combined Residency Program

On our first day, a young woman came in with new onset seizures.  She presented with all the signs of increased cranial pressure that I learned about as a medical student – obtunded, signs of cushings triad – bradycardia and hypertension.   We gave mannitol, steroids, hypertonic saline.   I didn’t think she would survive.   Did she have meningitis, cerebral malaria, a tumor?  We don’t know, but several days later she was walking, talking and close to baseline.  Here, diagnosis isn’t as important as management.

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Day five in Haiti: Fighting the odds

port au princeNelson Aquino, a nurse anesthetist from Children’s, is in Haiti with a group of Children’s clinicians. He’s been sending us updates and photos almost daily. Here’s his most recent email:

In the PACU today, we had a young boy screaming words in Haitian. We asked the interpreter whether he was having pain and where? The interpreter said he wasn’t having pain, but said he was calling out the names of all his dead family members and asking them to help him. My heart just dropped and I looked at him and rubbed his forehead, I didn’t know what else to do.

For every tragedy there is a miracle. Today I learned about a man I had cared for yesterday in a tent. This man was emaciated and rumor was he was found 10 days later in the rubble. I remember seeing him transported in when we arrived. I was giving him sedation for his dressing changes.

nelson_patient
This man was found alive after spending 10 days in a morgue.

Later, I found out the real story. The man was actually found in the morgue. He was thought to be dead and pulse-less and placed with the other deceased. When workers opened the morgue doors 10 days later, they saw this man was moving his hands! He was immediately resuscitated and placed on a fentayl patch for hospice care. Well today he is alive and sitting up and drinking! The Haitians have now named him ” Black Jesus.” He even looks like that too. What an amazing story.

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