Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Post for Medical Workers Considering Traveling to Work in Haiti

Many of us that are Medical, especially Doctors or Nurses are wrestling with the decision to go to Haiti, I have been getting emails about this, so I decided to write a post about the actual decision process.And remember above all else, you can give from here and it does matter, and does help. Please see this list to get ideas how to help ( Relief list compiled by Faydra Deon), this list has many ways to help and WHO to give to to help the Haiti Survivors. There are many fine medical Organizations that are doing an amazing job in Haiti, from the Red Cross to Doctors Without Borders, or Medicine Sans Frontiers, to Partners in Health, who have set up a Haiti Page to UNICEF. Please give what you can.
Introduction About Rendering Aid in a Diaster Zone
As a nurse of over 20 years I have worked disasters, and also rendered aid during Disasters. But all of my experience was on American Soil, and working with Groups such as the Red Cross or a Medical Group. I am an RN that has ER/PICU/PEDS/NICU/AIDS experience.l am also EMT trained and have work on an ambulance in a rural area, as well as worked and trained in an Urban setting(including crush and severe injuries and gunshot wounds).But even with all of these experiences, if I was to consider going I would ask myself many questions. {{ As I am living,caring for a teenage son, I am not planning to go at this point, I am working on twitter/cellphone as an intermediary connecting messages to aid.In 2005 with the Tsunami and Katrina I did the same thing to help the Disaster Refugees.}} But as someone who has worked Disasters I do want to help those planning or thinking of going to Haiti. ( Please do follow my twitter page @watergatesummer to learn more about Haiti on the ground).
Part One: What the Medical Needs are In Haiti ?
At this point most of the injured are severe, Many broken bones, head injuries, crush injuries.People that have experience in Orthopedics, Surgery, Neurology are all severely needed at this time. The work in the Tent Clinics is brutal, guerrilla medicine.People that have worked in this kind of setting or in dire circumstances need to be aware that meds,equipment, and supplies are all limited.Dehydration and Wound Care are only part of what is being provided and with limited resources.( 2.5 Million People are without shelter, this includes the people caring for them, there is limited Shelter, Those caring for the patients are sleeping with the Tent Facilities,and there is limited Relief Staff).The staff at these facilities are not just providing care, they are providing comfort,food and water. There is limited food,water and such necessities as IV equipment,pain meds,surgical equipment,antibiotics,and sterilization processes.There are at this point 5-7 operating Hospital Facilities (these are mostly open air Clinics near Damaged Hospitals at this point). The USS Comfort has arrived as of tonight, which can care for 350Beds,7 Operating Rooms. Medical Care is also being provided at Sea by the USS Vinson,and Critical patients are being transferred to Miami as well.
Part Two: What do you ask yourself if you want to go?
(1) Have you ever done guerialla Medical Care, Street Care, or worked in an urban or rural setting that lacks resources? Do you consider yourself creative ? Can you MacGuyver yourself if you are in need ? IE. Have you ever made a splint out of a cardboard box ? or cared for an injury on a Hike or a car accident ? ( with limited resources ?)
(2) Have you ever worked Trauma ? ER ? Surgery ? Neuro ?ALL of these areas are needed in Haiti- and will be for months.
(3) Have you ever worked 24 hour days, with limited rest or relief for days on end ?
(4) Have you ever had to share a setting with your patients ?
(5) Have your ever worked mass trauma with Thousands of grieving families ?
(6) Are you physically strong enough to go ? ( You might even want to consider getting a physical before you go, and make sure all of your meds are up to date, do take extra Antibiotics -ie, Month supply of cipro for wounds or Stomach ailments).
(7) Are you spiritually strong enough to deal with such devastation and loss and also chaos ? Are you strong under pressure?
Ask yourself what is the worst even you ever went through and how you got through it ?( Remember you will mostly be with people that you do not know in a different culture).
(8) Do you speak any other languages ? There is French and Creole, some spanish there as well. French especially would be helpful.
What to take and how to prepare if you plan to go to Haiti
There are many fine organizations in Haiti. Doctors without Borders (MSF) is there, and has been there for many years, even though their facilities were heavily damaged they have set up mobile facilities, and tent clinics and hospitals. Partners in Health and Red Cross are also there, and you can call them as well and offer your services and ask questions.

If you do go do check with the Organization you go with, and check if you are aloud to bring Blackberry or Iphone so you can communicate.Do bring extra meds for self. Protein Bars,Peanut Butter,Dried Fruit. Do bring Sturdy Shoes or boots,like hiking boots. Spare Contacts or glasses.Do bring a bible, 80% of the Injured are Catholic, you will need to pray with them. Do be prepared to sing with them and pray with them, regardless of their religion. Their culture does also embrace voodooism, which means they are very spiritual and seek comfort from the earth and animals around them, you will have to be open to their beliefs.

If you do decide to go to help the Disaster Refugees and Quake Survivors, and need any more information please do email me if I can help more.

Photo by Soledad O'brien
Update 1.20.09
The Guardian has latest update on 6.1 aftershock/Quake this am. BBC and The Guardian are still doing an amazing job covering the quake, and CNN has huge team there as well. Reuters is also doing a good job.


enigma4ever said...


Video: Oxfam aid flies out to Haiti http://bit.ly/8jPjm9
about 13 hours ago from bit.ly
A big thankyou to all who have donated - @DECappeal total has now hit £25million. If you haven't please give now: www.dec.org.uk
about 15 hours ago from web
Retweeted by Oxfam and 2 others
Haitian music: for every listener, Songza will donate 25¢ to Oxfam earthquake relief efforts in #Haiti. http://bit.ly/8yf1W2 Please RT.

enigma4ever said...

Thank you @Coldplay @NadaSurf @WilcoHQ @RhettMiller @Switchfoot @xxOfMONTREALxx @BenSollee @Questlove @YokoOno for your support. #haiti
8:57 PM Jan 17th from web

Fran said...

Michael Moore posted this link for nurses who want to go to Haiti.


And a link for those who would like to contribute to help a Nurse get to Haiti...


So much tragedy there...
it is not an easy place to go to....
the RN registration has a comprehensive list of
things they screen for.

enigma4ever said...

Thanks Fran...

grateful..will add to post in am..

enigma4ever said...

this am at 6:10AM -huge aftershock...or quake-6.1
( according to USGS- 25 west of PAP-near Jacmel-also it was 13 miles deep-quake last week was 6 miles deep-but this was same fault line)

enigma4ever said...

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Elite U.S. soldiers lie exhausted on tennis courts and beside a pool. Fifty thousand homeless people cram the nine-hole golf course. Helicopters land every half an hour with crates of water and food aid.


The prestigious Club Petionville, on a hill in spacious grounds overlooking Port-au-Prince and the Caribbean sea beyond, has been transformed into probably the biggest refugee camp in Haiti after last week's catastrophic earthquake.

Haiti is the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere but its elite came to the country club's elegant stone headquarters to dine and mingle with foreign diplomats and businessmen. Now the club houses commanders from the U.S. military's crack 82nd Airborne Division.

Down the lawns and beyond a loose military cordon, the golf course is covered with tents, made from poles and sheets by people who flocked onto the club's grounds after the earthquake brought down its perimeter walls, as well as their homes.

The club, named for former Haitian President Alexandre Petion, largely escaped damage, save a few broken pillars.

"The days are long but it is good to help," said Staff Sergeant Michael Watson, a veteran of the U.S. military's response to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans.

"Katrina was bad but this is a lot bigger."

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti last week has killed between 100,000 and 200,000 people, according to the government, and left several million on the street.

Unlike chaotic scenes elsewhere, with refugees fighting and scrambling for water and food, an orderly queue winds up the lawns of the club. Each refugee is allowed two bottles of water and one Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) ration.

"If they get unruly, we just sit down," said Captain John Hartsock. "It has only happened twice. They get the message.

"We don't want everyone going nuts, like the scene in 'Black Hawk Down' from Somalia."

enigma4ever said...

RT @anstreben: REDCROSS APPLICATION. CALL 786-316-3898 http://bit.ly/4HQsSo #Haiti

enigma4ever said...

@watergatesummer Email:UNHASPAX.Haiti@wfp.org for booking. http://bit.ly/7655sT
about 2 hours ago from Seesmic in reply to watergatesummer

@watergatesummer True that! I'll call you in a bit....great blogpost, BTW. Very helpful: http://bit.ly/7xtQID
about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck in reply to watergatesummer

@watergatesummer Email PASSENGER requests to UNHASPAX.Haiti@wfp.org Caravan and Caribou are operational. More aircraft coming on line.

enigma4ever said...

o News of Paula's girls; Les Palmes is hit
Haitian Ministries could not reach Paula Thybulle in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday to learn about the condition of about 70 girls at her orphanage, Le Foyer des Filles de Dieux.

She reported on Monday that the girls needed water and food.

Since Tuesday's earthquake, which damaged the orphanage building, the girls--ages 3 to 18--have been confined to the small courtyard there. Their supply of food and water is running low, Paula said earlier this week.

Paula's community clinic and small hospital, which are adjacent to the orphanage, are safe for the treatment of the injured, she said. However, there are no doctors or other health-care providers aware of the available space. The clinic and hospital, formally known as Notre Dames de Lourdes, is at Delmas #19.

In other news on Wednesday, the priest in the high mountain community of Les Palmessouthwest of the capital, e-mailed an update of his community. The 6.1-aftershock in the morning destroyed homes that had been damaged in the earthquake.

At least 44 people in the community have died and 82 houses collapsed, Fr. Vil Johnson wrote. More than 90 percent of all the dwellings have been affected in some way. He said no assistance of any kind has arrived.

Johnson listed some of the needs: water; primary care drugs; Clorox to treat rainwater;
toiletries; clothes; rice and peas and oil. He noted that a small bag of rice that sold for $150 Haitian dollars before the disaster now goes for twice as much. The price of a bag of water has soared.

He wrote: "Thank you for your prayers and solidarity." Les Palmes is twinned with St. Mary of Coventry, CT.

In other news Wednesday, Haitain Ministries learned that Enock Michele is unharmed. He reportedly is considering a move to Les Cayes, in the southwest of Haiti.

Elsewhere, Haitian Ministries still has not been able to find Lanitte Belledente, the mission house cook who was trapped when the mission house collapsed. Once she was freed, she was taken for emergency medical treatment for her legs, but Haitian Ministries has not been able to locate he

Fran said...

Just read MSF Doctors w/o Borders have attempted to land w crucial medical supplies & have 5 times been denied landing, had to go to Dominican Republic, losing critical time to get medical supplies & staff to where it is needed.
They are saying they are doing so many amputations.... without anesthesia or pain meds.
Guerilla medicine.
So damned frustrating that tons of medical cargo are being denied landing in PaP.

I could see if that happened a time or 2, but now FIVE major deliveries have had to reroute to D. R.

People are dying because of the time lag.

Democracy Now is doing excellent reporting & coverage.

enigma4ever said...

A bunch of us have been trying to get aid to the orphanage above ( Partners4haiti runs it-there is grave concern that some of the children are dead...)

Thursday AM ::
a Crew is supposed to get there.

enigma4ever said...

To ask for or provide information about U.S. citizens in Haiti: email the task force at Haiti-Earthquake@State.Gov or, From the U.S. or Canada, call 888-407-4747. Outside the U.S. and Canada, call 202-501-4444.
For U.S. citizens in Haiti seeking assistance or reporting their status/whereabouts: call the Embassy’s Consular Task Force at 509-2229-8942, 509-2229-8089, 509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672. You can also email the Embassy at ACSPaP@state.gov.
For all nationalities and locations: use the Person Finder tool available at http://www.state.gov/haitiquake to find and share information about missing persons in Haiti.
U.S. citizens with pending adoption cases in Haiti: Contact the Department of State at AskCI@state.gov for information about their adoption case.