Monday, January 25, 2010

“It has been the longest week in years.”

By Dr. Solomon Kuah
Monday, January 25, 2010 7:55 PM,
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

It has been the longest week in years. As the dust settles we find ourselves in a 'second' disaster - the thousands of NGOs, volunteer group/individuals, journalists, celebrities and political entities in a backdrop of tons of materials and supplies, both useful and useless. In this, our team has established itself as the leaders in clinical health care by being the first to deliver and the one to coordinate the only semi-functional hospital. Well . . . it is a tent hospital. There are 11 tents/wards, with nearly 500 beds, and 2 more tents coming. Our International Medical Corps team has grown with fresh faces and clean t-shirts - a contrast to the now rag-tag appearance of our original team. Most of the new volunteers have enlisted to run mobile clinics and outreach and see mostly primary care. In the hospital it is a different story. Imagine Port-au-Prince on a good day, now we are in post-disaster. We see 300 patients a day and do EM/trauma in 2 tents. Again, the dust is settling.

We lead and 'coordinate' approximately 50 teams/NGOs working to establish a functional tent hospital. We receive large amounts of resources from the Clinton foundation, USAID, Sean Penn and Wyclef Jean; I've met them both. We've created standard registries to keep track of our patients and conduct epidemiologic studies in this mess of a response. We've actually had a few patients disappear, yet the clinicians are very reluctant to adopt the registry, but we'll continue to push the importance.

Despite trying to coordinate all this I get to see some patients. I've had multiple GSW's (I haven't seen a gunshot wound since being at CU) and a Typhoid perforation. I have a skateboard coming in from one of my local translators, this should make me more mobile to accomplish my coordination tasks, then can I get back to patient care.
Tomorrow is another day.

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