A nurse reports from Haiti: Huge demand for surgery, thankful patients

Tents erected for post-operation care
Tents erected for post-operation care

Nelson Aquino, a nurse anesthetist from Children’s, arrived in Haiti yesterday with a group of Children’s clinicians. We just received this email update and photo from his first day and night on the ground:

This evening, we headed back to the university hospital. We had three operating rooms going. Earlier today, two other groups joined our team to make the hospital run night cases for the first time since the quake. We had surgeons, doctors and nurses from MI and CA helping us. Most of the morning was spent organizing the night ORs . We had several aftershocks too and people were scrambling.

Driving through the city is surreal. Camps of people, lines of people, military everywhere, homeless people. I saw the palace ruined. It was eerie at night too with no electricity and seeing buildings ruined and the smell of corpses.

Tonight, I basically did pain management and sedation for the post ops. We used morphine and started many patients on PO narcs. For the many wound changes I used ketamine and my portable finger pulse ox! The ICU nurses and intensivists were great and we all utilized each specialty. Everyone loved that I had the narcotics and could do sedation!

The patients were so thankful, you could see in their eyes, the grief, pain and acceptance of what has happened. The kids and adults all were inspiring.

Challenges for me were dealing with a 8 month pregnant woman w/ tib fib fractures pain management. Also trying to get IVs in trauma renal failure dialysis patient post op… But we all did it! Dave Waisel was awesome and both him and Craig McClain did amazing work today with the ORs.

At the end of the night, a three-hour old baby came with rectal bleeding and we all worked together…A PA donated his own blood so the neonate could survive the night. Amazing what people do in these conditions and circumstances! John Meara and Craig McClain stayed overnight to watch the baby.

Now back at compound.. More volunteers arriving. The surge of help is now coming.. A week later but not too late.. So many people need surgery, wound care and have nowhere to go. It’s going to take months for the injured to be cared for.

I know I’m missing more but I am beat. Thank everyone for thoughts and support!

Nelson Aquino

  • Sharon Anderson

    Hi Nelson,

    OMG, it sounds like hell on earth. I am so impressed with the work you and all the other Childrens’ people are doing in Haiti. What a wonderful gift you are giving to these deserving people. We here in Lexington are keeping you and the others in our thoughts & prayers. Keep up the good work & take care of yourselves!

    All the best,

    Sharon Anderson (Lex OR)

  • Sharon Anderson

    Hi Nelson,

    OMG, it sounds like hell on earth. I am so impressed with the work you and all the other Childrens' people are doing in Haiti. What a wonderful gift you are giving to these deserving people. We here in Lexington are keeping you and the others in our thoughts & prayers. Keep up the good work & take care of yourselves!

    All the best,

    Sharon Anderson (Lex OR)

  • phyllis DiNatale-Roussell

    Nelson, thank you for sharing your experience with us. It sounds horrific but rewarding. It takes special people to volunteer under such circumstances and your camaraderie is evident. I want to let you know how much I admire you and your colleagues and thank you for your sacrifice. Stay safe. You all are wonderful, Phyllis Dinatale-Roussell (nurse out at Day Surg-Lex)

  • phyllis DiNatale-Roussell

    Nelson, thank you for sharing your experience with us. It sounds horrific but rewarding. It takes special people to volunteer under such circumstances and your camaraderie is evident. I want to let you know how much I admire you and your colleagues and thank you for your sacrifice. Stay safe. You all are wonderful, Phyllis Dinatale-Roussell (nurse out at Day Surg-Lex)

  • Janet

    Thank you to all of you…be safe

  • Maranda

    God bless you guys! thank you for your hard work! our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and all of you for your efforts! take care and return home safely!

    Maranda (PA, ORL)

  • Maranda

    God bless you guys! thank you for your hard work! our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and all of you for your efforts! take care and return home safely!

    Maranda (PA, ORL)

  • CLAIRE HERNANDEZ

    Nelson you are amazing! Just a week ago you were bemoaning the fact that you could not get to Haiti and now there you are. Stay safe and know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all.Claire Hernandez Waltham O.R.

  • CLAIRE HERNANDEZ

    Nelson you are amazing! Just a week ago you were bemoaning the fact that you could not get to Haiti and now there you are. Stay safe and know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all.Claire Hernandez Waltham O.R.

  • Joan Kirk

    Nelson, you’re the best!!! The people of Haiti are so fortunate to have such a kind and compassionate person volunteering to help. I wish for a safe stay and a safe return.

  • Joan Kirk

    Nelson, you're the best!!! The people of Haiti are so fortunate to have such a kind and compassionate person volunteering to help. I wish for a safe stay and a safe return.

  • John Triedman

    Nelson, great work and an inspiring post! Those of us up here in Boston are so proud to have you and the CH contingent serving where help is desperately needed… I can’t believe you were working with us in the cath lab just last week!!

    Best of luck, be safe and thank you.

  • John Triedman

    Nelson, great work and an inspiring post! Those of us up here in Boston are so proud to have you and the CH contingent serving where help is desperately needed… I can't believe you were working with us in the cath lab just last week!!

    Best of luck, be safe and thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Hi guys, you are doing an amazing jobs by helping the haitien people, as an haitien ca that work @ childrens, I think you are the best, keep up the good work. God bless you and God bless America.I wish you all a safe stay and a safe return.Thank you so much.

  • phanisegoyau

    Hi guys, you are doing an amazing jobs by helping the haitien people, as an haitien ca that work @ childrens, I think you are the best, keep up the good work. God bless you and God bless America.I wish you all a safe stay and a safe return.Thank you so much.

  • suzannecolonna

    Hey Nelson! You and the team are truly an inspiration for all of us!
    Please stay safe and take care of Jay ( he's accident prone)
    An amazing selfless act of courage and determination!!

  • Kathleen

    You are amazing – every day I come in and cannot wait to read

    your posts! Usually with tears in my eyes becuase of the love

    and dedication that you have – and for the people of Haiti.

    But today when I came in I and saw you with Anderson Cooper

    I smiled!!! Reading your posts during the day and watching him

    at night – then to see you with him!!! It was nice to see!

    My son’s school is

    collecting supplies for Haiti – he is 9 years old and wants

    to help – we all want to help – and you with that great smile

    after seeing such sights is an inspiration to me!!

    God Bless You!!

  • Kathleen

    You are amazing – every day I come in and cannot wait to read
    your posts! Usually with tears in my eyes becuase of the love
    and dedication that you have – and for the people of Haiti.
    But today when I came in I and saw you with Anderson Cooper
    I smiled!!! Reading your posts during the day and watching him
    at night – then to see you with him!!! It was nice to see!

    My son's school is
    collecting supplies for Haiti – he is 9 years old and wants
    to help – we all want to help – and you with that great smile
    after seeing such sights is an inspiration to me!!
    God Bless You!!

  • Anonymous

    Hey Nelson! You and the team are truly an inspiration for all of us!

    Please stay safe and take care of Jay ( he’s accident prone)

    An amazing selfless act of courage and determination!!