Haiti: Nurse Nelson Aquino updates us on day three

by Matt Cyr on January 23, 2010

Hi everyone!

Nurse Nelson Aquino cares for patients in the makeshift Post-Anesthesia Care Unit in Haiti.

Nurse Nelson Aquino cares for patients in the makeshift Post-Anesthesia Care Unit in Haiti.

After a couple of nights, our group figured out the dynamics of how to get OR time, so we took the first bus in to the hospital.

When we arrived, we jumped into action to find out what our plan was today. Stella took charge and got our team going minus John (Meara) and Craig (McClain). In the meantime, the military commander was looking for the baby we took care of last night. So we all searched and searched and later found out the guys brought him to another DMAT unit. I also learned that unit was headed by Dr. Mooney and FEMA. The baby is alive stable and was handed off to Dr. Mooney and mom is good.In the morning, Gary (Rogers) and the ortho guys did some rounds to gather patients for the night OR. Some of us did pain management and sedation for the many wound and amputee dressings. Jay , Lisa and Terri did awesome putting IVs and helping the Mt. Sinai and Dartmouth Hitchcock team.

The OR group gathered furniture and equipment to make a new OR. Stella , Pam, Trish and Joann were working to make the OR night happen. Joann has been so vital translating and making sure all the locals are in tune with our plan.

We headed home to camp at 2 pm and rested till the night shift started by 7 pm. At camp, more teams started to arrive. We noticed a pattern of uncertainty and being lost, just like we felt when we came. As the first group to arrive at camp, we all helped to make their transition smooth.

At night, we had many drop-offs, meaning military men would walk up with patients and say, “Here you go.” Some were lucky to get some triage, some a bed, some went directly to the OR and some were not so lucky. The people are desperate for any kind of help. You will be working and 10 people are pulling you in any direction and you can’t understand them. The tents need nurses so bad, to give meds, pain meds, antibiotics, dressings and basic care. You will be lucky to have a local Haitian nurse, but last night it was me, Jay and Teri manning five tents (over 100 patients) and a post op area. There were a few doctors there helping and we had the director/ founder of PIH Paul Farmer helping us.

Some of the things we saw were a young man who had a wall fall on him last week. Tonight he arrived from the Israeli hospital with family and looking for intensive care and hope to get on the Comfort Ship. But now it is too late to transport so we did the best we could. I put my pulse ox on and it was 48 and he was in respiratory distress, pain, borderline obtunded. Dr. Meara and Dr Farmer managed to assess and determine this was not surgical. We administered antibiotics, morphine and heparin for him and watched him overnight.

Thank goodness we met and befriended this team of FDNY paramedics, doctors and physician assistants who mended all the patients at night. They willingly found beds and accepted our postops late at night. These guys were amazing!

Last night, we did 5 surgeries too. One triage trauma, mva, ortho trauma and a massive orbital degloving. The teams were busy till 11 pm when we stopped surgeries. Jay and I bonded with a father who son needed septum surgery. He spoke English and told us he had lost his entire family. It was just him and his boy. He said his boy was a “diamond,” the most valuable thing he has now. Despite his losses, the father was there helping other families and I saw him later unloading a warehouse for the paramedics. That is pure humanity to see in these conditions.

I cant even describe the hundreds of other patients we’ve seen or the experience in the OR, but I hope this gives you all a tiny glimpse that we are making a difference!!!

Thank you all!
Nelson

2 comments

  • mike mcgrath=ECMO Specialist

    Unbelievable Nelson.All of you are phenomanal.Keep up the great work.

  • mike mcgrath=ECMO Specialist

    Unbelievable Nelson.All of you are phenomanal.Keep up the great work.

Previous post:

Next post: