On Wednesday, Jan 20th, we received 14 airlifted patients from Port au Prince. At the start of the day today we had a total of 140 quake victims. The new volunteers arrived this afternoon and hit the ground running as the helicopters began to arrive. Six helicopter flights with at least 20 patients descended in an hour and a half, all severely injured with crush wounds, burns, trauma and fractures.
Dr Peter Kelly told me how proud he is of the hospital staff and volunteers. A MASH type operation has now been established. A helicopter lands, patients are transported in our ambulances from the ‘helopad’ (soccer field) to the ‘triage area’ (school classrooms across the street) within minutes. They are triaged, evaluated and then rushed to one of the available hospital operating rooms. It is a very efficient operation and lots of lives are being saved.
We currently have 3 ER doctors in triage , 2 Internists doing pre-op and post-op, 9 orthopedic surgeons, 6 general surgeons, 3 anesthesiologists, 2 CRNAs and 11 nurses. These volunteers are in addition to our permanent Haitian staff of 247 (both medical and non-medical). The general operations of the hospital have had minimum disruption. The sick and poor of the North of Haiti are still receiving the quality of care they need and deserve thanks to our wonderful Haitian staff.
Volunteers have come from Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Iowa, New Mexico and Idaho. Several of them members of the Order of Malta. Another five Caritas Christi medical personnel are arriving tomorrow with more essential supplies. We have 2,500 lbs of supplies arriving between today and tomorrow but we are going through them fast.
We are receiving through the US Navy and US Coast Guard helos, the most severely injured because we have the capacity and expertise to treat them. We are doing all we can for as many as we can. 100 cots are arriving tomorrow and 200 more are on the way. We need large tents that can cover 100 cots and we urgently need Lovenox (anti-coagulant).
Our volunteers on the ground are doing heroic work, between 25 and 50 cases a day depending on how many patients we receive. It is utterly heartbreaking to watch the images and read the news about Haiti at present but at least in our little corner of the country a big difference is being made and there is a glimmer of hope. Helicopters have been scarce at times and that has been difficult because it is the only way that the critically injured can reach us. We are hopeful that the stream of airlifted patients will increase because we are willing to stretch to the max and beyond, even to accommodate another 100 patients . Please pray for the efforts of all involved. We could not do this without the support of all of you.