Can it get any crazier – Haiti Update 04/15/10

Posted: April 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

Skull fracture, broken hip, bloody vomit and yours truly bagging a kid in the back of truck in the pouring rain while we race to University of Miami field hospital to try and save their lives.

Up until last night the last few days have been very uneventful.  I’ve spent a majority of my time doing lame admin stuff trying to raise money so I can stay here and sending out proposals.  I was sitting at the Plaza Hotel yesterday, for the 3rd day straight, thinking to myself, “Man, I wish something would happen where I could do some good.”  About 3 hours later the craziest day of my life happened.

We were all at the house figuring out what to do about the lack of power, water, and gas and I got a call from Lauren that the General Hospital had 2 trauma patients they needed transferred to Medishare.  She was about 5 minutes out from the house so I loaded up my trauma bag and when she got there we threw a couple of backboards into the truck.  It took us about 8 minutes to get to the hospital and this is what we walked into.  Oh ya, and by the way, it’s raining like hell and we are soaked to the bone.  We now have to transfer them in the pouring rain.

7 people were in a horrible traffic accident and minutes before that they received a 15y year old boy who fell 17 feet from a tree, hit a house and then the pavement head first.

We got the kid and one of the car accident patients and had to get them out fast.  Here’s what each of them had.

Car Wreck lady:  Pelvic fracture, open Tib/Fib fracture, multiple lacerations.

Tree Kid:  Basal skull fracture, unresponsive, difficulty breathing, bleeding from both ears.

So we get the lady secured to her gurney and strap her in.  Throw a blanket over her and leave her on her bed in ER while we secure the kid.  We go to the kid, get him on a backboard strap him down, cover him with the only piece of plastic we can find (it just happens to be a body bag), and strap him in.  We go back and grab the lady load her up in the back of the truck.  We’ve had a break in the rain so we are moving quick.  We grab the kid and start to load him up when all of a sudden a geyser of bloody vomit and food comes flying out of his mouth.  it’s drenched his neck and face and he is now inhaling it.  I tell everyone to get him back into the ER.  Meanwhile, it’s now starting to rain.

So we have a lady with a broken hip and leg, under plastic, in the back of the truck being pelted by rain, and we are moving the head trauma back into the ER.

We get him back in and he starts to seize.  All of his IV lines are a tangled mess and 2 of them have to be flushed.  We get him on the table, suction all the crap out, the doc intubates him and we are bagging him since he is barely breathing at this point.  They gave him a bunch of benzo’s to stop the seizing and relax him for the trip.

So he’s somewhat stable, we load him up, I’m bagging him, Lauren is monitoring his pulse, by hand because we have no EKG monitors, Cory is in the truck working with the lady, Paul straps everyone in and it’s go time.  So we think.

We get to the gate to leave and the guard won’t let us out because we don’t have a form signed by someone.  We’re in the back of the truck screaming at him to open up, Paul get’s out and tells me to give the word and he’ll knock him out and open the gate himself.  I’m yelling at the guard, telling Paul to stand down, and trying to get someone to get and ER doc down there.  Let’s not forget I’ve got to keep bagging this kid during the whole process or he’ll die.

The hospital admin comes out. makes a big stink about not having the right paperwork, I’m trying to get Paul to calm down but not being successful since I’m screaming at admin to sign the damn papers and open the door.  meanwhile, they are just acting like it’s not an emergency and one of them starts to laugh.  At this point I lose it.

I snapped at one of the ladies and said, “Your people piss, crap, and throw trash everywhere in the streets and you’re concerned about a single piece of paper.  When this kid dies I hope you rot in hell for causing it.”

Her response, “We have a process here that we have to maintain.”

My response, “Blankity, blank, blank blank.  You, blankity, blank, blank blank!!!!!!”

Finally, the form is signed and the gate opens.  Paul puts the pedal to the floor and we are off like a bat out of hell on crack.

So try and picture this.  A small Toyota truck.  2 people on stretchers, tailgate down with the patients secured with tie down.  I’m crammed behind the driver sitting on my knees bagging the kid, Cory is next to me working on the lady, and Lauren is on the kids side checking his pulse.  We are flying down back roads, it’s raining sheets or rain, Paul is dodging pedestrians, cars, tap-taps and diesel trucks while trying to avoid the potholes.

20 minutes later we arrive at Medishare and back the truck up.  The kid still has a pulse, he is combative but still unresponsive.  The lady is stabilized still and in generally good spirits.

They help unload the kid and get him on the table.  Right when they get him on he kind of comes to just enough to yank the ET tube out of his throat.  That’s actually a good thing.  He’s still bleeding pretty good from his ears and his pupils are actually not bad.  We’ve got blood, vomit and possibly urine all over the back of the truck, the backboard and ourselves.

We left after about 20 minutes.  They were able to stabilize him and get her ready for surgery.  We end up leaving and hope the kid will survive.  We’re not sure what his quality of life will be, or if he even made it through the night so we’ll check on him within the next few days when we head back.

We headed back to the General hospital, picked up Alan and went home.  BTW it was still raining and all my clothes were soaked.  I spent the night in the only pair of clean and dry boxers I had left.

All in a day’s work here in Haiti.

  1. Pam says:

    Hi Paul!
    Holy unbelievable Batman! You all are phenomenal people. I always look forward to what you are doing over there. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Please let me know when you get your non-profit status I might be able to to do a company matching thing for funds from my place of employment…I am doing the research now.

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