Saturday, February 20, 2010

Return from Haiti Earthquake Relief Mission

             Photo by Mark Beers
Donna and Susan at Operating Room Tent with Operation Smile...
doing surgeries in Haiti
I've returned from two weeks (Feb 1-14) in Haiti on a Disaster Relief mission with Operation Smile. The Jan 12th earthquake at Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, which killed an estimated 200,000 people, also injured an untold number. We worked from two tents near a town in Haiti called Fond Parisien, near the border with Dominican Republic. It is situated within the land of the "Love A Child" Orphanage. Tents were set up for about 230 patients who need medical care. Small tents were set up for the volunteers staying there. My particular tent was a one-person tent donated by REI. Several organizations have come together at this site to provide the best medical care for the Haitians as possible under almost impossible conditions. The weather was hot, but dry.

Twenty medical people were on my Operation Smile team (the 2nd Op Smile team to rotate there). I am an operating room nurse and spent most of my time in the two Operating Room tents that looked like little white plastic quonset huts. It was very hot (93 degrees) and humid in these tents, but we did about 60 life saving operation. Operation Smile usually does "Life Changing" operations of cleft lip and cleft palate repairs, but this was different. We did arm and leg amputations, skin grafts, wound debridements, internal and external fixations on fractures, and dressing changes under anesthesia. The wounds from the Jan 12th earthquake were mostly infected with pseudomonas which were treated with antibiotics, cleaning/changing dressings, and debridement. It was an experience

I can not explain in the right words. Better to share a couple excellent links that go to blogs about the Haiti experience:
www.operationsmile.org/haiti  (Operation Smile)

http://hmcinhaiti.blogspot.com/  (Hershey Medical Center in Haiti)

Aloha, Donna

1 comment:

Sheri said...

Donna,

You are my hero! I cannot express how much admiration I have for you.
I'll bet you never will need a "Get Out Of Hell Free" card as you have payed it forwarded 100 fold.