Surgical Team of Mount Sinai Rush for Haiti Relief

The world was shocked to learn about the Haiti Earthquake and the news and accounts of victims have been pouring in making the world community to respond with relief in by way of materials and men reaching there and offering services to the victims.

Responding to the relief required a team of surgeons including Michael McCarry, RN, and Kimmarie Hammond, RN, caring for the advanced heart failure and cardiac transplant program, along with the physicians and surgeons of Sinai Medical Center, New York City reached the National Hospital, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The team provided surgical help to the victims in the hospital.

On arrival of the team, there was a terror on the face of victims and the common talk was that they have come to cut the legs and no one was coming near. In the past the surgeons had carried out amputations on the victims, because of a necessity and there was no alternative, the gangrene had set in the choice was to lose the limb or lose the life.

The team got an occasion to treat patients, whose injuries had nothing to do with the earthquake. These people suffered injuries due to motor vehicle accidents and gun shots. Among these patients was a woman who suffered injuries due to a propane explosion, which had taken place. It was never thought that such type patients would also be there among the victims.

One the first day of arrival only half of the visiting team came to the hospital to make the assessment of condition and making arrangement for transportation so that on the second day the whole team arrives in the hospital and carry out their relief work.

The second day relief work required performing of many skin grafting jobs, debridements, and plastering. On the first night no one was there with the patients except few families. During the second nigh a doctor remained with the patients. After the first two days of stay of the team, there was good progress of the patients coming in the hospital.

Subsequently there were few more relief team available from Boston and New York and it was decided to merge the resources. Now it was possible to create a supply line and sterilization measures. The first few days saw full steam operation with the equipments and materials.

Later on to ensure that the materials last for a longer duration, there was reduction in the use of equipments and materials.

In cooperation with the two teams now working an orthopedic service was started, which was non-existent in the past. To make the things smooth the surgeons posted their respective notes, because it was a necessity for the team to know what has been done and what has to be done.

There was diverse collection of relief workers; it was felt to make an alliance of all the relief workers, who had gathered here. The group had different disciplines experience all were now working jointly offering their assistance to each other and the total working proved to be very smooth. PACU nurse demonstrated great devotion and were the last to leave, while calling off the day.

When a patient was taken to the OR, the place was taken by another patient came along on the waiting looked after by one of our teams till the previous patient came back. The relief workers were there till all the patients were taken care of. The relief team was ensuring not to leave the patients alone.

The relief workers treated above 120 patients in the forest location outside the hospital, because people were frightened to go indoors. When the more supplies arrived that changed the entire scenario. Now there was tented accommodation created, the victim patients also felt that the relief efforts were working. The entire environment had a changed look, because more than half of the team was comprised of nursing professionals.

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