Earthquake Relief Port-au-Prince Haiti
January 25, 2010
Dr. Martina Fuchs, Michael Lear and Kevin Connell
Real Medicine deployed to the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, January 20, and began performing assessments on the Jimaní border hospitals, the Good Samaritan and the Hospital Melenciano, which have been receiving patients from Haiti since last week.
Both facilities have been overloaded as more patients arrive and the demand for post-operative care increases. Patients with pins sticking out of flesh, with amputations, and many children in body casts line every hallway and ground space.
All of the patients at both hospitals had arrived via ambulance (if lucky enough), or piled in the back of flat bed trucks in numbers as high as 30. The now congested 30-mile route between Port-au-Prince and Jimaní is taking up to an exhausting three to five hours.
At present the Good Samaritan Hospital is serving 800 meals being served twice a day to patients and staff.
Further complicating the situation have been the intermittent aftershocks in Jimaní. On two occasions at The Good Samaritan Hospital, all patients were evacuated from their rooms and brought onto the lawn. The fear was palpable. Everyone refused to sleep inside.
Upon returning from Port-au-Prince, Michael became friends with one of the many victims that experienced tragedies beyond measure: “I went to help with the relocated patients placed on the lawn in front of the post-op ward. It was there that I met Stancia. Stancia lost everything – her whole family, her husband, her children and her house.
She lay alone in the Dominican Republic with crushed legs, not knowing how to start over. Her first words to me are – “I am dead. I have lost everything, my family, my husband and children and my house. It is just me and God……..and you. You are my family now.”
Please help us to provide Stancia with hope and the support to start her life over.
While the situation in Jimaní is overwhelming it pales in comparison to the challenges that face those in Port-au-Prince. It is tragic beyond words and the magnitude of the destruction makes the transport of critical patients to hospitals and the delivery of food, water and medical supplies nearly impossible.
In addition to supporting the immediate relief efforts, Real Medicine Foundation is meeting with local government health officials in Jimaní and Barahona to coordinate long-term assistance as well as assessing logistics for longer term, ongoing physician deployment in Haiti. We are also preparing to establish mobile clinics.
Michael Lear: I sit here four days after arriving to Jimaní and am not able to explain what I have witnessed here. Perhaps I’m tired. Perhaps it is the staggering amounts of amputations, stories of being trapped, crushed, losing everything, family, friends or homes – seeing so many orphaned children lying scared and alone in body casts – oblivious to what awaits them back at home in Port-au-Prince – utter destruction, chaos and collapse.
While all of this has left me silent, nothing leaves me speechless more than the contemplation of how these people will recover – so many doctors, nurses, medical support staff are needed for the next months, probably years to come to ensure their recovery. Funding is desperately needed to establish long term healthcare solutions, provide psychological support, housing and of course food and water.