HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

Operation Smile/Haiti

Posted on | February 1, 2010 | No Comments

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Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010

The camp has progressed a lot since we have been here. Volunteers have really learned the system of things and we are working fluidly with the other smaller teams and camp administration, who works on getting more volunteers and supplies. People are really used to the basic nature of life – bucket showers, one hot meal a day, sleeping in tents and so on.

And these things are getting better every day – we now have access to a private bathroom with a western toilet, and we have also just had three air-conditioned tents donated to the camp which might be usable as ORs. Things are really flowing though and the team is doing very well.

Today, we will operate on 15 patients (mostly more complicated procedures), and, including yesterday, we have operated on 47 patients and made and replaced casts for 15. While we wait for the AC tents to set up, we have a few patients who we cannot operate on in the current classroom OR because we can’t guarantee a level of sterility needed for the operations. We are moving some instruments and supplies to a clinic down the road for the afternoon to make sure we are able to take care of these patients nonetheless. We were hoping to move these patients to the USNS Comfort but it appears the Navy’s Comfort is overloaded with patients as well.

Mark and I are working with the team back in Norfolk to coordinate the two following teams to here (the second I believe we will start to fill early next week) and the first team to the PIH hospital in Hinche, which will begin Feb 5.

Back at Operation Smile’s headquarters, Shannon and Joella in our Programs Department have been working incredibly hard to build these teams and make this possible. We are also making sure we learn from this past mission, specifically in terms of supplies – we are not used to the larger amounts of blood and fluid in surgery and some items are running low and so we are working with Operation Smile Dominican Republic to procure these.

There is a lot of good going on down here. The Haitians work together to help people adjust to having limbs in casts or none at all. We are trying to come up with ideas to better teach people skills to adjust to these problems – one of the most needed things are physical therapists.

Mark also came up with an idea to teach people to clean wounds and ex-fixes as well as how to use crutches by setting up a video projector and speakers with a recording of a Haitian Doctor instructing on these items.
– Mark Beers and Lucas Carlson, Program Coordinators

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