Friday, May 7, 2010

Figuring it Out

Dr. Mark Courtney is from Northwestern University and is representing the Chicago Medical response team with International Medical Corps in Haiti. We'll be posting his updates from the field over the next week.

Starting day three. Yesterday I worked triage. This was challenging; due to the very limited resources you really have to figure out if you should bring people back.

There is no CT scan -- the chest X-ray is reserved only for the most sick patients. We’ve been seeing lots of cerebral malaria but they get better pretty quickly after an IV of quinine. Bottom line is patients with symptoms that at home that would mean a hospital stay, like mild chest pain that could be early heart attack, sky high blood pressure, or moderate pneumonia, in Haiti are treated with some pills and returned to their home-tent. They almost have to be in some respiratory distress, altered mental status, or high fever. Almost everyone else gets sent out or treated in a triage chair.

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