Update from Heidi Walker, RN:
It rained today! This is wonderful considering it has been sticky and hot all week. There is actually a nice chill in the air tonight.
The day started with two women going into labor at the clinic. Unfortunately, MOH is not allowed to deliver babies and therefore we loaded them up in the ambulance and took them into Port Au Prince. The two labor and delivery nurses were excited and ready to deliver the babies, but they did not get to show us their skills.
The surgeries went much better today. Each surgery we do should be a lot easier than they have been, but with the lack of vital equiptment and these adverse conditions, we have had to work a lot harder . With passing time, these older injuries are getting more difficult to treat. Thankfully we were able to fix a bad tibial plateau fracture, an acute gunshot wound to the hand, a fractured and dislocated elbow, and of course a debridement of an infected wound (we have seen a lot of infected wounds). We were going to wrap up the OR team tonight, but we decided to leave Haiti with a bang with one last above the knee amputation tomorrow. Dr. Brad will be losing his scrub partner, Dr. Greg, tomorrow to a flight back to Indiana, so he has asked Kristen to be his assistant in surgery.
The ER was hopping today as usual. There were all sorts of people in there, which is much like it is in the states. We saw a 17 month old baby only weighing about 10 pounds who was severely malnourished. Of course this baby pulled at all of our heart strings and we did everything we could to get some fluid down. We eventually shipped her out to a hospital in Port Au Prince. We can only pray that someone else will care as much as we do and will nurse her back to health. We also had a patient come in yesterday who fell out of a building or tree depending on who you ask (no one is sure of the exact story because things get lost in translation). Dr. Jon was able to diagnose a C4-C5 cervical fracture and we immobilized him and sent him to stay the night in our ward. We were supposed to have a helicopter come into the mission today to transport him to a hospital that takes 10 hours by car, but they cancelled because of the weather. A helicopter around these parts sounds pretty unbelievable to me, so I will have to see it to believe it. Hopefully tomorrow’s weather will be better and the helicopter will come for him. Rick, the Canadian paramedic, made him a short back board to travel on so that his flight will be as comfortable as possible.
All of the people on this team have been amazing. It’s such an eclectic group, but everyone has had something amazing to offer. It’s great to see people working until exhausted for the same common goal of helping these people. We forget how lucky we are sometimes and thank God for allowing us these experiences to remind us. Our team will be disbanding slowly over the next 3 days and I think we are all feeling it. We wish we could keep the team together forever, but we are also looking forward to getting back to our family and friends. There really is no place like home!