Disengaging Our Nation

Disengaging Our Nation

Years ago, we used to look up to heroes. Kids would say, “When I grow up, I want to be like that!” Heroes were positive role models that had qualities that our society valued. Somewhere along the line, a tectonic shift had a tremendous impact on our nation. We’ve turned and faced the other way and the consequences have been devastating.

Tossing aside our passion to become like our heroes, we now focus on victims. As our televisions become filled with shows like “Hoarders” and “Honey Boo Boo,” we point and mumble, “At least I’m not that bad.” Comfortably, we settle into our couches of content.

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Typhoon Yolanda Heli-Clinics Video Update

Typhoon Yolanda Heli-Clinics Video Update

I spent my 31st wedding anniversary apart from my lovely wife, Debbie. In fact, we were 6,642 miles apart. I was in Tacloban in the Philippines and she was at home in Bremerton, WA. It's actually more confusing than that since I started celebrating it a day before her due to the time zone shift. So, in reality, I missed her a ton on our anniversary which lasted more than a day and a half.

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Typhoon Yolanda: Emotions

Typhoon Yolanda: Emotions

Today was a day filled with emotion. We loaded the mini-truck with supplies for both teams and then we all piled into the other truck which is covered and has two barely padded benches that face each other. The first part of the trip was fairly easy. We drove to the municipality of Pastrana. We then met the Municipal Health Officer and he dispatched his nurse Vilma, RN. Their ambulance went in front of us and blared announcements that we were having clinic. We had police on motorcycles with assault rifles escorting us in front and behind. The streets rapidly deteriorated to mud roads marked by huge puddles (perhaps small lakes?). We splashed our way along at about 10-20 MPH. As we went, people were waving and, at times, cheering. I guess it was our own mini-parade. I've never had that kind of welcome on my way to work in the USA.

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Typhoon Yolanda: Field Clinics and New Friends

Typhoon Yolanda: Field Clinics and New Friends

We hit the ground running and had a wonderfully productive day. Our team split into two mobile teams for clinic. Dr. Rob, JB and I left early and visited two different municipalities. The first stop was the Degami Municipality. Municipalities are rated according to their affluence on a 1-6 scale with 1 being the most affluent. Degami is a category 3. They have 65 barangays (villages) 16 of which are in the mountains. There are about 35,000 people which make up about 7,000 families. After the typhoon, they had an influx of an additional 2,000 families (mostly made up of women and children) that came from either the coast or the mountains. There was a severe flash flood that was caused by water coming down out of the mountains. In the Philippine culture, if someone is even closely related, they will take them in and provide for them to the best of the ability. In Degami, there are a total of six health clinics. One is located in the municipality and five are outlying. However, even before the storm, only one of the remote clinics was fully functioning. They were in the process of remodeling the other four. 

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Typhoon Haiyan: Cebu Base Camp

Typhoon Haiyan: Cebu Base Camp

After about 17 hours in the air, we are now at the Cebu Base Camp. We have an outstanding team of guys. All four of the other guys are paramedics. I am the only physician on this team. Ian Tully is from Whidby Island, Gary Howe is from Tacoma, Dan Livengood and Rob Watson are both from the Portland area. The whole team is very experienced in international disasters so this is going to be great.

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