Stories about: disaster response

Children's and Project Medishare: reflections from the Operating Room

Maggie Pierre, RN, Organ Transplant, Unit 10S
Maggie Pierre, RN, Organ Transplant, Unit 10S

Maggie Pierre, RN, Organ Transplant, Unit 10S

Stepping on the grounds of my birthplace after 23 years was a shocking experience. The images of poverty, destruction and desperation around me was quite different from the images of my childhood memories. Immediately, I begin to have mixed feelings of guilt for being more fortunate than others in this country as a child, at the same time blessed for the opportunities I have as a United States citizen. Within hours of arrival at the tent hospital, we had two emergent cesarean cases rushed though the operating room doors.

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Children’s and Project Medishare in Haiti

Arriving at the airport in Port-au-Prince

From April 10 to 18, Children’s Hospital Boston sent its largest group so far to Haiti for relief efforts. A 26-member multidisciplinary team traveled to a field hospital on the Port-au-Prince airport tarmac, staffed by Project Medishare/University of Miami Hospital.

Over the next week, Thrive will feature writings and photos from many of the team members as they reflect on the struggles to provide care with limited resources. This first post is written by Sarita Chung, MD, Division of Emergency Medicine.

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Day eight: Pondering Haiti's future

streetsofportauprince

After returning from Haiti, Children’s Pediatrician-in-Chief, Gary Fleisher, trauma surgeon David Mooney and pharmacist Shannon Manzi are interviewed by WBZTV about the human suffering they witnessed during their medical mission.

Nelson Aquino, a nurse anesthetist from Children’s, is still 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:

A week later, many volunteers are starting to go home. I wonder who will come to replace them. Will it be surgeons, doctors, or nurses or all who will roll up there sleeves to take care of the sick.  We need many people to rehab the amputees, people to remove hardware, people to provide nursing care and antibiotics, and people to provide long term needs. It will take a long time for this country to be back to where it was prior to the earthquake. But it must be better than that, we must provide homes, a clean water supply and some revenue for this country.

What concerns me is that people may forget the devastation this country has experienced and yet I know I will never forget the images burned in my memory. There are no words to describe the devastation here from people who are sleeping in the rubble of their homes to protect their property and bury their dead.

The infrastructure of the country has almost been annihilated. I am unsure how the hospital will function after other groups start to return home. The ultimate goal is get the Haitian people to function independently with a higher standard of care. This end will require an unconditional commitment from the international community.

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Day seven from Haiti: one week down, lots of progress made

Children's trauma surgeon David Mooney, MD, is featured in today's Boston Globe article on infections in Haiti. Photo courtesy Boston Globe.
Children's trauma surgeon David Mooney, MD, is featured in today's Boston Globe article on infections in Haiti. Photo courtesy Boston Globe.

Editor’s note: All three members of the other Children’s team on the ground in Haiti, Pediatrician-in-Chief, Gary Fleisher, trauma surgeon David Mooney (left) and pharmacist Shannon Manzi, are featured in a Boston Globe article today about how infections are becoming the big problem for the people of Haiti.

Nelson 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:

Today was another hectic day in our makeshift OR. And to make it worse, we did not have any electricity the entire morning. But we continued on safely using our portable monitors, homemade suction and no bovies. You would be amazed how much work we got done without light or electricity. Things are starting to get better each day. As old teams leave and new ones arrive, we continue to get our work done. We all feel like we hit  the wall today. The fatigue is starting to get to us even though we are hydrating and trying to eat  as much as we can.

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