Complacency of Haitian Red Cross Blood Bank is Out of Control – MMRC Haiti Update 08/07/2010

Posted: August 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

Let me preface this blog entry by stating that for the last several weeks many of us have been dealing with a load of crap from the Haitian Red Cross.  I am so sick and tired of the Haitian Red Cross Blood Bank and the fact that they don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves.  People in this country are dying and need blood and the only response we get is that they don’t have any…. which is bullcrap.

For example, 2 nights ago we had to go the HRC Blood Bank to get 2 units of O+ blood for 2 patients at Medishare.  One was for an 8yr old boy and the other was for a 35yr old male.  We were asked to pick up some blood and run it over to the patients that desperately needed it.  I mentally prepared myself for the fight that would ensue over 2 units of blood.  We pile in the truck and headed over there.

Upon arrival I had to go into the blood bank and speak with the person in charge.  It was hard to communicate with her since all she wanted to do was sit on her butt and watch TV.  For the sake of reading let me bullet point out how things went down for the next hour and a half.

10:30 – We are told they  have no blood and we had to come back the next day at 8am (shift change).  Knowing full well she was lying to me I asked her to double-check and get the blood we needed.  She wouldn’t even check and stuck to her story.

10:40 – Now the story is they have blood that just came in from the countryside but it had to be tested and she did not have the ability to do it at that time.  I asked her to clarify her stories since at first there was no blood and now there was. 

10:55 – She can do 4 of the 5 tests that need to be done but can’t do the 5th since it had to wait until the morning since she didn’t have all the supplies to do all of the tests.

11:10 – She can do all 5 tests now but we need a sample of the childs blood and a signature from the parents.  At this point LP steps in since I am losing all control and becoming very aggravated.  You know things are bad when he is the voice of reason.

11:20 – Medishare tells us that at 3pm they sent a sample of the childs blood with the family member.  The lady at the blood bank than tells us she has to find the book to confirm this is true.

11:30 – She finds the book and starts searching for the name.

11:35 – We find the name and confirm that the sample has been delivered and our story is true.

11:40 – She finds the blood sample.  I’ve lost my mind at this point and have left the building and am now waiting in the truck.  LP is laying the charm on thick and telling this woman how great she is and that she is doing us a huge favor.  She tells LP that she will Type and Cross the samples to get one that we can use.  We are informed that the tests will take 20 minutes.

11:50 – We get the blood.  The lady has it in a cooler, walks right past me, gives it to LP and says, “This is for YOU”

So a simple blood test that would have taken 10 minutes got drawn out to 80 minutes and all of this happened because the people working in the blood bank are too lazy to do their jobs.

Now, I’m sure that some of you might be upset by what I have said and tell me that they are understaffed and short of supplies but the truth is that the people who work in the blood bank are very qualified and have an abundance of what they need.  On rare occasions (when a presidential guard got shot) I have seen them draw blood from donors, process it and get it to the doctors in record time.  The problem is that they only do this on rare occasions. 

Why can’t they just do their jobs and make sure that the one of the few items in high demand that is needed for emergencies is ready.  We don’t ask for blood because we want to.  We ask for it because if someone doesn’t get it than they will die.  They don’t have days or even hours to wait.  They have minutes. 

This whole tirade has been triggered because just now, I had to concede defeat to the HRC blood bank when we tried to get 3 units of A- blood for a kid with Typhoid whose bowels just ruptured.  This kid doesn’t stand a chance in hell without the blood and we’ve been told that they are not giving out any blood until Monday morning.  How do you make them understand that they are the only ones that can save this kids life?  How do you explain to them that a human life is more important than watching TV and sleeping?  We are here trying to save their lives and all we get is a load on unadulterated bull crap from the people who are supposed to give a damn.

There it is, I’ve said what I have to say.  We are still working on finding other options for the kid but it doesn’t look promising.  I’ve even gone as far as to tell someone that the only way to make this work is if we get a film crew together, go to the HRC blood bank and make a scene that will embarrass the hell out of them.  I hate having to do this, but at times it’s the only way to get things done. 

So, now for some better news of what MMRC has been up to. 

We’ve been working our tails off and have been doing some great work.  Yesterday we did 2 EMS calls. 

 The first one was for a kid with a high fever that needed to be transferred from a clinic near Carefour to the General.  When Riann and I arrived on scene it turned out to be a 30 year old male with a fever that was Malaria negative.  As we were doing our assessment I touched his skin and he was ice cold and sweaty.  He was very weak and had been feeling ill for a month.  I took a quick whiff of him and he had a hint of rotten fruit smell on him so I tested his blood sugar.  It came up at 230.  Now normally this isn’t normal with a patient whose blood sugar is 230, but I’m wondering if he had been like this for a month if he was just compensating for it.  Either that or he worked in the market with a bunch of fruit and I just got really lucky to think and test it.  Who knows.  While Riann started getting his info and vitals I started on IV on the patient.  We transferred him to the General, gave report to the doc and headed to Le Plaza to check some emails and wait for our pre-arranged second transfer.

Out second transfer was pretty amazing.  We had spoken with Indgrid the CMO of Medishare this week and she asked if we could get an ambulance to transfer a baby with genetic defects to the airport for an air ambulance transfer.  I asked the admin of the General if we could use the rig for 3.5 hours and amazingly we were told yes.  Riann and I loaded up and got to Medishare at 4pm but since the flight was delayed we couldn’t load the baby and medical team up until 5:15pm and we headed to the airport.  The plane was already on the ground so Amanda had the joy of working with the Haitian Immigration Officer and it was 7pm by time the plane was fueled, papers signed and we were ready to move the baby out of the ambulance into the plane. 

I heard yesterday that the baby and his mother made it to Dallas safe and sound and he will begin his operations right away.

In other MMRC News….  Riann is teaching the EMT classes and they are going great.  We start teaching the cops on Tuesday.  Dave and Kelly just joined us for a week.  We met them on our first trip and they are great people.  Tuwanda is leaving on Monday so none of us are to happy about that.  Cory, Christina and Stacy will be joining us next week.  We are vaccinating a bunch of little kids on Tuesday.  On Tuesday we will be receiving 6,500 cases of Pedialyte.  So far we have committed 5,500 cases of it to groups we work with.  We bought a new ghetto sled (truck) thank to Patricia Arquette. 

Before I cut out I want to take a moment and let everyone know that I have the most amazing parents in the world.  They have been so supportive of me and the work I am doing here.  Without their continued support it would be very hard for me to do this work and I just wanted to tell them that I love them dearly…..

MOM & DAD….  You guys are amazing.  I really can’t thank you enough for everything you do for me.  I know you guys are praying for me often and I can always tell when you are worried about me.  We are doing a lot of great things here.  I love you both very much and I will see you as soon as I can get home.

  1. Again, I am reading your post with great admiration of your work in Haiti. I am going to give you the name and number of someone who knows me and works for the Red Cross in Haiti. Try to contact him and see if he may be able to help you in the future. I will send the info to your Facebook inbox.
    Jeanette Alfred of Haiti Reads

  2. ansel says:

    Did you link up with Al Jazeera?

  3. Dennis Rosen says:

    Paul, this is heartbreaking. Can I post this on my blog to help get it out there? FYI, I’m working on putting together another group from Children’s Hospital Boston to come to Bernard Mevs in November. I’m looking foward to seeing you if you’re still there. Take good care, Dennis.

  4. amy says:

    everything you said is what I heard from a customer that comes into where I work in LA. She shared her story of going there for 10 days and showed me the pictures of what is going on down there. It is heartbreaking and more people need to keep them in min and in their pocketbook. I wonder what happened to all the Red Cross money an who is managing all of it? Will pass your blog on. thanks for your parents as well, they helpthe planet and gave the world a gift.

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