Friday, January 22nd, 2010
Email from Dr. Steve Nelson, part of the medical team from Quito, working at the Baptist Haiti Mission Hospital:
I’m listening to beautiful Haitian music roll up from the hills below us. Amazing … the people in Indonesia were singing the night after the earthquake too. It both soothes and brings tears through the day in the hospital too as we move from ward to ward. Seems everybody in Haiti knows how to sing.
A certain semblance of order has begun to show itself at the Haiti Mission Hospital … long days, welcome reinforcements and a increasingly steady supply of materials have allowed us to get through nearly 100 surgery cases and most of the patients that crowded the floors and hallways of the hospital when we arrived. The last surgery for today will probably be done by 8PM … a welcome change from the midnight schedules we kept the first few days … especially for our anesthesiologists who are obligatorily invited to ALL surgeries.
Still … it’s an eerie and surreal sort of calm because we know the town that borders the bay of Port au Prince that we can see from our compound still teems with untreated and in some cases unfound victims of this incredible tragedy. We are trying to open lines of transport from those areas of the city and from those hospitals where their surgeries have been limited to amputations .. limited by the sheer numbers of patients … limited by no electricity, no equipment, no sterilization. Meanwhile those that need surgical interventions other than amputations lay outside unattended, many dying of infections before they are ever seen.
Samaritan’s Purse will try to continue to equip and man this hospital and figure out ways to get patients here. In some ways … and of course relatively speaking … it is paradise here … cool in the evenings, high enough to be above the malaria zone, and safe from the increasing unrest in the center. We could proabably handle 20 or more new cases a day figuring that 90% of them would have to go to surgery. We just need to figure out how to get them here. Ten trucks over a road that rocks and rolls for an hour an a half when things are open … six if not. Or … two helicopters and ten minutes. Come on military!! Many of those patients after surgery and a few days of observation could go home and come back later for follow up procedures which would open beds (or floors) for more transfers. This pattern could go on for a long time … it appears Samaritan’s Purse is comitted for the long haul.
Pray we make the right decisions for the most people. Pray for the Billy Graham Evangelism team that is here trying to make sure each person has a chance to hear eternal life-providing Good News before and during our attempts to restore life and health in this realm. We are averaging about one death a day (two today) so there is lots of sorrow and tears to deal with too.
Thanks for holding us all up so strong and tender with your prayers.
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