26 Americans and 4 Haitians injured in a truck rollover – Haiti update 05/19/2010

Posted: May 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

Sunday we decided to take the afternoon off and chill at the pool. In the morning we did a supply run to the general where we saw some of the Medishare team and they had the twins (Kit and Cody) who were doing a piece for Rolling Stone on some of the volunteers here. We were going to do a drop at Medishare but since they were there we all went to the Plaza and hung out before we loaded up their care with supplies. About 20 minutes into relaxing, Vince, the CMO at Medishare, got a call that their were 30 victims from a truck roll over in the mountains. All the patients were being taken to Mission of Hope (MOH) since it was the nearest facility and they needed help. We jumped out of the pool, threw the reporters in the back of our truck along with Mikaela and drove to the house to change and gear up. It took about 10 minutes and we were back on the road to the General to grab both ambulances and head over to assist.

When we got to the General, once again the drivers were nowhere to be found and one of the rigs was gone. After about 5 minutes we found a driver so the twins, Mikaela and I headed out while LP, Ralph and Christina waited for the other rig to appear. LP and I had to split up since we were the only ones who knew how to get to MOH and we couldn’t waste time on getting lost. The drive took about 20 minutes and when we were about 4 minutes out we were passed by the MOH ambulance heading wo Medishare with its first 2 victims.

When we got there is when we found out that 26 of the 30 victims were American missionaries. As I began helping with Triage, Mikaela called in to Medishare with a status update and that’s when it was determined that all patients were to go to Medishare for treatment. Originally we were going to split everyone up due to injuries, but most of them were so severe that it only made sense to house them together. About 2 mintues later LP showed up in the truck and 2 minutes later the second ambulance arrived.

We loaded up our ambulance with 3 patients, the twins, and Mikaela and they took off. I stayed behind to help quarterback the transfers and I also ended up starting IV’s on several patients. Though it was chaotic my hat goes off to the MOH team. They may be small in numbers but they had everything on lock. We saw Scott from the red shirts there and it turns out that his base camp was around the corner so when he heard about it he brought over his medical team.

Amongst everything going on I had to releave one of the General’s ambulance drivers from his duty. This guy is really reckless and a horrible driver. He’s been reprimanded several times but won’t change his ways. When I saw that they were loading a possible C4/C5 fracture and an open right ankle fracture into the rig I decided that it would be best for the patients if he not drive. I got the keys from him, gave them to another driver who has proven himself to be safe and cautious. I asked the pissed off driver to get in the back of the pickup so we could take him home after everything was done.

We ended up making 2 trips in our ambulances, 2 trips in the MOH ambulance and their little field ambulance, and LP made 1 trip in the pickup. It took almost 3 hours to transport all 30 victims to Medishare for treatment/surgery and everyone did an amazing job.

We knew that some had to Medivaced out to Florida but we didn’t know when. By the time we got home and decompressed it was almost 1:30am and we were wiped out. No one could fly them out at night so we knew we could sleep for a bit before having to transfer some of them to the airport. Jen called us at 8am and asked that we be at Medishare at 10:30 am to begin the transfers.
On Monday we ended up having to fly 4 of the patients to the US via private medical charters and the rest flew out yesterday.

My hat goes off to everyone who helped with this. It could have been a lot worse but thanks to the bystanders who brought the victims in from the mountains and the medical personnel on the ground.

Things hace pretty much returned to normal. Scrounging for IV fluids, transferring patients from one facility to another, dropping off supplies to orphanages, helping feed the patients in the TB clinic, helping out whoever we can, and rasing money so can stay here.

We keep fighting everyday to stay here and we won’t go down easy. The people of Haiti need us and we will do whatever it takes to stay here longer. Even though the rest of the world has forgotten about Haiti I implore whoever reads this to remember that this country is devastated. Our NGO (MMRC) is the only one out here doing what we do. We are the glue holding so many together. When asked what we do our repsonse is the same, “We get stuff done!”. Please let us do this work down here.


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