The Search For Answers in Haiti

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I slept in the dirt and gravel outside of the UN hospital after I relieved the doctors last night (see the photo above). I was awake off and on throughout the night for the few hours that I laid down but I was suddenly shaken awake at about 3:42 am to a tremor. It was a bit startling but I just went back to sleep. I talked to one of the guys that has been working with us and he said that he ran outside when the tremor happened because everyone is still very twitchy about the stability of the buildings that are still standing. 

I was up by 5:45 and fixed an MRE for breakfast. Bill picked me up and took me back to our guesthouse at about 6:30. 

We had a quick meeting with some other folks after breakfast and then Bill and I went to the UN where we received the horrible news that the Pastor's wife was too sick to be treated at the Israeli field hospital. She was likely going to die. 

I wasn't about to give up so I began to put together other plans. We heard on the radio that the nicest hospital in town was now open and ready for the sickest of the sick. I suggested that we not transport her until we saw it for ourselves. I was not prepared for the devastation that we saw along the way. It was not possible, the most horrific scene that I have ever seen, there is nothing to compare it to. People roam the streets afraid to go inside, building after building is collapsed. I know full well that there are people in there and some may even be alive but there isn't anything we can do. There are not many heavy machines that I have seen. When we got to the hospital we found a warm and friendly environment that is well organized. However, they were operating in a makeshift OR located in their ER. They were lacking supplies and equipment.  Bill and I both commented on the sense that we had of God's presence in that place. Unfortunately, they couldn't help us.

We then went to the Israeli field hospital compound because I really hate taking "no" for an answer when it comes to people that I care about. We met the commander and has was gracious enough to give us one of his physicians to go to see the pastor's wife at the UN. Unfortunately, he was required to take a security guard with him. There was difficulty finding an available guard so we waited for about 45 Min for nothing and planned to come back later. I then went back to our hospital (King's) and met with the team. They had a brutal day! There were so many patients that they were being pulled in every direction (literally) by families and patients. We did not have enough translators so communication was frustrating. Anne, one of our very experienced nurses, found a ton of surgical instruments today! This was tremendously great news! The teams coming tomorrow will be delighted.  We are going to work hard tomorrow to get the operating rooms up and running. It is starting to feel like a "long term goal" but we have been here just a bit more than 24 hours and we have accomplished a tremendous amount. As a team we have seen many patients.  There was one little girl that was only about 2 or 3 years old with a compound fracture (where the bone comes out through the skin) in her upper arm. It was amazing how much she was tugging at my heart.  We also saw a 9 year old with cerebral palsy that had a major arm fracture. There were many people in the yard on tables, boards, cardboard, chairs as well as on the grass. So many, many foul smelling infections! Many people will require surgery. One guy can't feel or move his right leg. I suspect that he has a fracture of his low back. There are so many crush injuries including hands, feet and chests.

So after seeing patients I went back to the Israeli compound and grabbed the doctor to come and check out the mademoiselle. (French speaking country).  His guard was available with his Uzi machine-gun. He went to the UN and the most amazing thing happened: it turns out she doesn't have a pelvic fracture and there is a chance she could live! She did, however, have a compound fracture of the lower leg. This will mean that she will most likely need to have her lower leg amputated. Our orthopedic surgeon will see her in the AM. I can sleep knowing that most likely she will wake up in the morning. We were given the incorrect diagnosis. Go figure.  

Exhausted and going to bed. Tomorrow I will be crazy busy!! There is so much to get done!! Whoa!

Thanks so much for all of your comments, encouragement and prayers.

Onward,

Dan