Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Update from our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti

From Alice Rampton: Update from Haiti

Mark called from Haiti again last night and shared many experiences of his day. The Corvallis Gazette Times, our local newspaper, did an excellent job of covering that in this article:

If you want to hear about the individual cases that Mark and others are seeing each day, please read the article, it explains things perfectly. When Mark called last night he had a hard time talking without getting emotional. [Being a doctor] he's a touchy feely guy, but doesn't actually cry all that often so I know he's affected by what he is seeing. He said that he does fine during the day when he's with the patients, but on the phone, the emotions were raw. After thirty-thre years of practicing medicine, he's seen everything in terms of blood and guts, but when a young boy is carried in with two legs broken, his parents and siblings dead in the earthquake, and his home destroyed, it's just too much loss to comprehend. As mentioned in the Gazette Times article, the cases that they are all seeing are pretty heart wrenching except for the delivery of a healthy baby, which he was able to do yesterday.

The clinic, located at an
LDS church in the heart of Port au Prince and very close to the Palace, is very busy because of its location to a severe part of the disaster area, plus it is two blocks from one of the hospitals called Sacred Heart. There have been thousands of people camping out at the hospital trying to be seen and now many of them are being carried over to the LDS clinic because they heard that there are doctors there. Then when the docs and nurses at the LDS clinic see that there is a severe need for surgery or whatever, they just carry the patient back to the hospital and can usually get in to the operating room because they bring the orthopedic surgeonon the twenty member medical team or whomever to do the surgery. The team includes two orthopedic surgeons, two general surgeons, two emergency room physicians, four family practice doctors and an unknown number of nurses.

The LDS church has a generator (with fuel that did make it there) and they try to use it only when needed. The church also has a water filter which is at a premium in the area because it allows for clean water. So those things are great, but the orthopedic surgeons are running out of the screws/plates that they need for the
broken bone surgeries and I'm sure other supplies will soon be in shortage. There does seem to be fairly good exchange among the military and other medical teams that are there. The doctors were going to go see if the military would lend them the supplies needed for bone surgery.

Mark definitely felt the earthquake yesterday morning. In fact, he woke up thinking someone was shaking him to get up. Instead, it was just the rolling of the earth. The team has a nice place to stay outside of Port au Prince- it's a big hacienda belonging to a contractor. Mark sleeps in a tent on the grounds and at first, felt guilty being in such a safe and peaceful setting, but after the first day of seeing eighty patients in a ten hour day without any stops for food, he realized that it's good to have a place to go to build up physical and emotional strength, get a good night's rest, and be ready to face the next day.

The volunteers at the church/clinic are amazing. There are hundreds of them. They are helping to distribute goods, assist with
medical procedures, triage, translate, organize the patients, etc. It's a large army of Haitian volunteers and he says they are wonderful. He said that the church is Haiti is alive and vibrant.

Now I have one potentially happy story to tell. Mark called about two hours ago regarding the twelve year old girl girl (mentioned in the newspaper article) named Fedline Mon Flery who has severe thir
d degree burns, which have removed half of her scalp and caused open wounds on her arm, face, and neck. She was treated a few days ago with just gauze and antiseptic, but that isn't enough. Mark spent an hour yesterday trying to debride (remove dead and infected tissue) the burns. For the severity of this case, she will only survive with skin grafts and hospitalization. He is working on that end to get her flown to a medical facility in the US. So he asked me to call our son, Marcus, who is an anaesthesiology resident at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio. BAMC has one of the best burn facilities in the nation. But Marcus is down in Corpus Christi doing training with pediatric heart surgeries for a month, so I talked to our daughter-in-law, Rebecca Cropper Rampton. Mark wanted to find out if the burn unit at BAMC would accept this little girl if they got her there. Rebecca eagerly took on the situation and bravely called Colonel Mary McAfee, deputy commander for clinical services at BAMC and asked if it would be possible to get this little girl some help. Rebecca gave her the phone number of someone working with Mark who has a cell phone. Col. McAfee did some research and checking and then called the number in Haiti and was able to talk to Mark. She shared with Mark that Dr. Rob Sheridan of the Galveston Burn Center is actually in Haiti and put the two of them in contact. Dr. Sheridan is going to try and get this young girl to the Shriner Burn Center in Galveston. We hope and pray that this will come to pass. But thanks to the LDS Medical Team, Rebecca, Col. McAfee, the guy in Haiti with the cell phone, and Dr. Sheridan, there might be a chance for this little girl.

That's about it for today.


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