A Must-Read Update From Haiti

My friend Daphne posted an update on her Facebook page about the situation in Haiti - including info from her relatives there - and she generously agreed to let me share both of these with you.

Daphne says:

"We continue to collect much needed supplies and gladly accept any assistance. We are gathering them at my cousin’s home, the address is below, and will transport them to Haiti via private planes.

Robert Hare
19731 SW 89 Ave
Miami, Fl. 33157

Here is an updated list of needed supplies:

1) Basics - sheets, blankets, mattresses, nonperishable food (e.g., protein bars), water, clothes, large garbage bags, cleaning supplies, flashlights, battery operated lights

2) Medical – alcohol/alcohol wipes, hydrogen peroxide, betadine, swab sticks, gauze, adhesive tape, wound dressings, large bandages, elastic bandages, thermal paper rolls, fluids (e.g., saline), IV fluids, pain medication (e.g., oral, IV), needles, syringes, sutures of all types, antibiotics (e.g., ointment, IV, oral), thrombolytic agents (e.g., heparin or lovenox), X-ray film, antiseptics for operating rooms, surgical supplies, scalpels, scrub brushes, bone pins, metallic devices, complete orthopedic sets, any orthopedic care supplies, crutches.

If you would like to support our efforts through donations visit the website.

To follow the hospital’s progress, join the Haitian Community Hospital Facebook page for regular updates. I’ve also received several inquiries about providing assistance at the hospital. Right now the hospital is need of medical doctors or nurses to provide the most basic life saving procedures: repairing deep wounds, suturing lacerations, and stabilizing fractures. Orthopedic surgeons are needed to perform amputations. If you are interested in helping contact me, but please be forewarned that going to the hospital right now means that you will need to travel with something to sleep on, energy bars (i.e., essentially your own food), bug repellent, hand sanitizer, and flashlights.

In addition, if you have space, we ask that you bring medical supplies that help prevent the spread of infections. It is possible to take a commercial flight into Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and then take a six-hour bus ride to Petionville (stops near the Hospital). Also, we’ve heard that Jackson Memorial Hospital and The University of Miami have three planes going to Haiti daily with doctors and nurses. The contact person is Stephanie Guernsey at 917-334-2939.

We truly appreciate your support!

Below is the hospital/update that I received from my aunt Josiane Sunday night:

Hi Everyone,

It is hard to actually describe what goes on at l'Hopital de la Communauté but we are feeling much better about patient care today. The first two days we had 2 Haitian orthopedists taking charge and seeing patients as fast as they could and 3 other doctors evaluating patients. There were no aftershocks today, and that was a blessing because every time there is a tremor the patients scream and their relatives try to carry them out of the building.

Today, I looked around and felt like we were in a hospital and not a war zone.The main thing that happened was that a team of mostly Haitian American doctors arrived 2 days ago and asked to take charge of sorting the patients by orders of priority. The volunteers have been great. There is a team of surgeon lead by an American who lives in the Dominican Republic in charge of the two operating rooms. In addition, every morning our family has an organizing meeting about needs and distribution of jobs.

All day yesterday new volunteers of all types arrived and donated supplies arrived. One large truck and a bus came with a group of 28 young Haitian medical residents from the Dominican Republic. They opened a clinic under a tarp in the yard to screen new arrivals and send those who needed more than sutures and bandages inside the building. That helped those patients who are terrified of going indoors get some care. Ten of the Haitian doctors from the DR came inside and helped with post-op care and wound care.

My job yesterday morning was to work around with the one non-Haitian from the Miami team, translate and put a piece of masking tape on each patient's forehead labeling his level of emergency. Most of the patients were spread around an inner courtyard which is usually the main external clinic of the hospital. We set up a supply room in the dental clinic with a volunteer registration desk, a casting room in the regular consult area, a workers snack and coffee room in the administrative offices, and two major supply rooms, one for medical stuff in a meeting room and one for food stuff in an unfinished area on the second floor. Later yesterday, new teams arrived from St-Thomas (VI), and Jamaica.

Many wealthier local Haitians were also there helping with translation, bringing donations, sorting of donations, and management of patient families.This hospital usually permits relatives to be there 24 hours, but the doctors from the US told us that the place was too crowded and that only children could have a parent present full-time. That was very rough. One young teenage boy who didn't want to leave his mother and sick sister signed up as a volunteer. We had to have lots of policing at the gate.

Yesterday we had 2 very touching stories. A fifteen year old names Ricky was alone for the first two days and I was very worried about him because he seemed to be sleeping most of the time. Another teen next to him told me that we had to watch out for him because no relatives were around and all his siblings were dead. Yesterday, Ricky sort of woke up and his mother came. When I came to see him with the doctor, the doctor told him he would need surgery on his leg. He told the doctor that he thought his leg was dead. The doctor said that he was right and that it would probably be an amputation. Ricky, said it was OK, as long as he could survive because he didn't want his mother to be alone.

The second story was a miracle baby named Angel. He was pulled out of the rubble on the fourth day. He was about four months. His mother had been killed and his mother's cousin brought him in. The doctors looked all over and found nothing but minor cuts and scrapes around Angel's little body. We found him some Pedialyte and formula in the supply room and Angel turned into a charmer. Each one of us who went to look at the miracle baby and talked to him got a great smile. That was incredible.

I talked to a guy today who was waiting for a death certificate for his 24 year old daughter. She was in class at an engineering school when the earthquake happened. He said that he couldn't understand how an engineering school of all places could be so poorly built that it collapsed. Yes, anarchy in construction is a common subject of conversation in Haiti and it usually refers to the shanty town, small improvised housing all around the capital. But now we say that all of it was improvised: the presidential palace, the tax building, the justice department, the Catholic cathedral, the Episcolian cathedral, the fanciest hotel, the fanciest supermarket.... Or maybe nothing could prevent the collapse of all those important building?

The hospital still struggles with shortages and lack of supplies. Most beds are divided into bed and mattress. One person gets the bed with some cardboard padding or matting brought in by the patient, and another person gets the mattress. Many patients are on stretchers. We've been told that the US government will bring us 50 cots. We will still be short of sheets. One of the things we hope to work on in the next couple of days is infection control measures. We have gloves but there is a lot going on that is not hygienic right now and bacterial contamination is scary. Parents bring sheets and bedding from home, too many people go in and out around the patients with no hand cleaning. Well, we will work on that tomorrow.

The stories outside the hospital are scary. I really don't have time to listen to the news on the few Haitian radio stations still functioning. One TV station shows CNN all day but when you are living through this, CNN is a bit irritating. Among the many dead, there are many important people, like the bishop of the Catholic church, the head of the Tax office, the senate president. We are actually not sure about what's the truth when we hear about who is dead, missing, or found alive because there is a lot of rumor and there have been no Haitian newspapers printed since the event. We hear that banks and US government offices will open tomorrow morning. We hope that some supermarkets will open too.

Our house is full of people. Max came in to help at the hospital, Jeff came in with two journalists and a driver from the DR, Chantal and Sabrina are with us because their apartment is cracked, Louideur moved back into our yard with his wife, mother-in-law, and baby, and Guerda is there with her two daughters and grandchild. Brigitte took in a family also, and Tigeorges has one person. In our neighborhood the internet doesn't work except at Brigitte's house. Tomorrow the hospital might get some fancy internet equipment. Two guys from the US came and asked if the hospital needed a satellite communication unit. So, tomorrow we might have internet and international phone connections from the hospital. That will be very helpful. I might be able to bring some photos...Josiane

From Josiane's update and from Daphne's, you can see that they need help more than ever. Keep them in your prayers. Donate to them if you can.


Anonymous said…
Hi Liz, I think that you should start your own charity or foundation, your integrity would convince me to donate anytime! I dont normally donate but you convinced me it was a good practical thing to do x
Liz Dwyer said…
You are very kind to donate to the people there. Thank you for doing so. They need our help more than ever now.

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