Stories about: surgical care

Day eight: Pondering Haiti's future

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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 six in Haiti: Making some improvement

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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:

As we almost reach our first week here in Haiti, I wanted to share that Port au Prince is slowly making some improvement. Each day seems like the people here are trying their best to move on and go on with living. Despite the devastation and tragedy, we have seen the Haitian people looking for work, selling food on the street, cleaning what’s left of their homes, dressing up for Sunday’s best, attending services and children smiling and playing.

This patient was so thankful her legs were not amputated that she prayed for Nelson Aquino.
This patient was so thankful her legs were not amputated that she prayed for Nelson Aquino.

The city is full of dust, has poor air quality, remains in shambles and is piled with trash. The people are eating, sleeping and living in these conditions. Crowds gather daily to look for work, see the envoy of volunteers and fill roads with traffic. It amazes me that it took a major disaster for us to finally get over here and help this very poor country. I hope we continue to realize that we need to support Haiti and countries like Haiti. I am amazed how the less fortunate are so happy despite having nothing.

One of the patients I anesthetized today woke up screaming in joy that we did not amputate her legs. She proceeded to place her hand on my head and said a prayer for me. The interpreter said it was some really heavy stuff she was saying. For me, I feel so blessed to be able give all I can as  RN, CRNA and human being.

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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.

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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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A nurse reports from Haiti: Huge demand for surgery, thankful patients

Tents erected for post-operation care
Tents erected for post-operation care

Nelson Aquino, a nurse anesthetist from Children’s, arrived in Haiti yesterday with a group of Children’s clinicians. We just received this email update and photo from his first day and night on the ground:

This evening, we headed back to the university hospital. We had three operating rooms going. Earlier today, two other groups joined our team to make the hospital run night cases for the first time since the quake. We had surgeons, doctors and nurses from MI and CA helping us. Most of the morning was spent organizing the night ORs . We had several aftershocks too and people were scrambling.

Driving through the city is surreal. Camps of people, lines of people, military everywhere, homeless people. I saw the palace ruined. It was eerie at night too with no electricity and seeing buildings ruined and the smell of corpses.

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