Stories about: natural disaster

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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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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Updates from the field: A pediatrician returns from Haiti

Haiti earthquake funeral
The funeral is for a female college student who was crushed in the earthquake.

Children’s-affiliated pediatrician Lester Hartman, MD, who runs a clinic in Haiti’s Central Plateau, made his way to the country within days of the earthquake to offer much-needed medical care. He returned home at yesterday and emailed us about the widespread destruction–and the accompanying resiliency of the Haitian people–that he witnessed firsthand.

Hartman sponsors three students in Haiti, all of whom were in Port-au-Prince when the earthquake struck. They were lucky to survive the quake, and returned to the capital city with Dr. Hartman to help with relief efforts.

My daughter Sarah and I are back- got home about midnight last night. Sarah was a huge help in all ways, but being close to fluent in Spanish ,while we spent much time trying to cross the border, was a huge help. Also a huge help was the Dominican pharmaceutical distributor who gave of thousands of dollars of meds, the civil defense team from the DR that crossed the border to help, and the director of HOPEH, Marline Olivier, a small woman with an amazing spirit who got the trucks, food and led us down the mountain (I nominated her for CNN Hero-she is sure mine).

Haiti earthquake1 guys
Dr. Hartman, his daughter and the Haitian students his family sponsors. After surviving the earthquake, the students returned to Port-au-Prince to help with relief efforts.

My focus is the people, not the destruction- there will be more of the physical devastation than you can imagine you can imagine. Let’s focus on the people. The three students our family sponsor saw death firsthand in Port-au-Prince. When I asked them to return to Port-au-Prince to help, they responded yes with no hesitation.

In the photo, the first person, from left to right, is Richardson, a high school student we sponsor, who dreams of a farm and a house. He calls my wife “Mom”.

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