EMT training in Haiti – MMRC Update 08/17/2010

Posted: August 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

It has been such a crazy week that this is the 4th time I’ve sat down to update the blog and I am really hoping that I don’t get interrupted.  With that being said I’m going to type as quickly as I can to get this update out.

As many of you know we have been teaching the EMT classes at Medishare for the last few weeks. Riaan has been doing an amazing job and the students have learned quite rapidly and are soaking in all that they can. Last night was the first time that we actually had a chance to do a practical exercise with the students and some of them did a great job. I want to thank Medishare for letting us take over their ER (under MD supervision of course) and take care of a guy that fell off the top of a container. Kali Stanger and Jason Wander were the two doctors on hand and they were great about the whole situation. 

So here’s what happened.  I was in the ED talking to some of the staff when security came in and told us that there was a guy with a busted up face in the back of a flat bed truck.  Kali and I went out there to look at the guy and after a quick exam we decided that he needed to come in.  The first story we got was that he fell off the roof of a 3 story building but his injuries were not consistent with that.  I asked the doc if we could turn this into a training op for the students and she agreed to it so I went and got Riaan.  the first thing we did was to put him in a C-collar and get him onto a backboard.  We got him into the ER and noticed that he had a pretty broken up cheek bone and his left leg was really hurting him.  While Riaan taught some of the students I took one and worked on getting a patient history from one of the guys that saw him fall.  That’s when we got the full story on what happened and how he fell from a container and not a roof.  Anyway, so Riaan is with the guys and walking them through the exam, teaching them how to splint an ankle, and how to check for any neck injuries.  Meanwhile, I’m making calls to Adventist to see if they can receive him since we don’t have a functioning X-Ray machine here.  Daniel over at Adventist was kind enough to send over their field ambulance a nurse so they could take him back and get an xray of the guys neck so we could clear his C-spine.  In the end, the guy was ok, the students got their first hands-on experience and everything went well.

On Sunday we also transferred a 10-year-old burn patient to the USA.  She was the most adorable little thing in the world and she is going to Shriners Boston for treatment.  She originally came to Medishare for treatment and was sent to MSF France since they have a burn center there.  Amanda knew she needed more intensive care than what she would receive here so she started making calls and got her into the states.  When we were doing the transfer everything was going well until we got to the airport and it started to rain like hell.  Amanda and I ran from the ambulance to plane to give them the paperwork and when we got there (45 seconds), it looked like I had entered myself into a really bad wet t-shirt contest.  I was soaked to the bone,  the rain was relentless, and my shirt was a little see through to where you could see my chest hairs.  We finally had a break in the rain so we transferred the little girl to the airplane and got her out of Haiti.  I heard she made it there safely and has already begun her treatments. 

There were 2 highlights of this transfer.  The first was when we were at MSF France and had finally gotten the girl into the ambulance.  Marc was the Pediatrician helping out and I heard him say that she was in a lot of pain so I nonchalantly asked if he wanted some morphine.  He gives me this confused look and says, “You have morphine?”.  I’m looked at him and said, “Sure.  Why wouldn’t I”.  I got out my narcotics box (a little plastic Tupperware) and gave him 2mg of morphine IM.  She was a happy little camper after that.  The second highlight was when we were waiting in the rain for the fuel truck to come and I looked up and saw a glorious white, yellow and red paper bag sitting right in front of me.  My heart skipped a beat and I almost cried when the pilot offered me the 3 McDonald’s Egg McMuffins that were in it.  I’m glad it was raining because grown men don’t cry in public and that rain did a good job of hiding those tears of joy running down my face.

Aside from that we also received and distributed 6500 cases of Pedialyte.  We got in touch with Save the Children and they needed us to move the load to people who really needed it.  We knew we could do it so we accepted the order and started making some calls.  Everyone we called was overjoyed to be receiving Pedialyte since there are so many dehydrated kids here.  When we got the first shipment in I was pleasantly surprised to find out that each case had (6) 1 liter bottles in it.  Since the box truck could only handle so much weight the deliveries were distributed over a 4 day period and not one day went by where we had to keep much of it at the house.  A special thanks to Save the Children for this amazing donation.

We are also so glad to have Cory Gould, Stacy Bourne, and Christina Bladek back in the country with us.  If you recall from earlier blog entries, Cory is our resident diva and we are so glad to have her back.  Christina is the crazy broad that followed me down from Milot.  Stacy is the ever so amazing photographer that seems to be able to get everything done in PAP. 

Now that I’ve brought up Cory and Christina, I have to bring up what happened yesterday.  We all ended up going to Mission of Hope (MOH) to do a supply run.  Daniel from MOH called and let us know that he had a bunch of overstock he needed help moving.  We took the ghetto sled up north and started to work in the tents and the field prepping everything we needed for when the box truck showed up.  Immediately upon arrival Christina found a way to get dirty.  Aside from Pigpen, she is the grimiest of the group and I even think she is some kind of dirt magnet.  So, we’re all working in the sweltering heat, I’m sweating so bad it looks like I’ve been rained on, Chrisitina is so dirty it looked like she was rolling around in the mud, and the Diva is so sweaty,  dirty, and tired that she looks at me and says, “I’m a quarter century older than all of you, I’m taking a break!!!”  That put a huge smile on my face because i was getting a little worried about her but thankfully she called it early enough before she got sick.  So, the truck shows up, LP gets the guys in order and we start loading it up.  The biggest finds we had were about 3 pallets of vitamins, 2 pallets of EMS gear, tons of adult diapers, LRD5, and a pallet of Doxi.  It was a really hard day and we were all exhausted by the end of it.

We’ve also been working with Megan Coffee and the TB Clinic she is running.  We’ve known Megan for quite some time and she’s pretty impressive in the fact that she is running an entire clinic with the help of 3 nurses.  She is pretty much the doc that everyone sends their hard TB patients to.  We’ve gotten her quite a few tents that came to us via Richmond Arquette, a hefty supply of Ensure and Pediasure from Save the Children, food from Operation Blessing and a lot of other much needed supplies from all of our other connections.  Right now we are working on getting her a big enough tent  that we can turn her office and supply room into one area, and several big tarps that we can use to re-cover her existing tents since it is really starting to rain now.  Let’s hope everything comes together so we can help her and her patients get what they need done.

Talking about the TB tents made me think of the weather and what is going on here.  Keep in mind I grew up in AZ, a desert, that never gets a lot of rain, that is always dry.  This rain we are getting is absolutely ridiculous.  These massive grey clouds just roll in from the south and engulf PAP.  You have about 20 minutes from the clouds cresting over the mountain to the torrential downpour that goes on for 15-90 minutes.  It’s absolutely nuts how quick it is and the sheer volume of water is frightening when you consider that everyone is living in tents and these are the same tents they got 7 months ago that are now full of holes or just ripped to shreds. 

As you can see we are greatly needed here and there is so much for us to do but we are not sure we can stay much longer.  Our funding is depleted and we have received some donations but they’re just not enough for us to continue much longer.  Without the financial help we so desperately need we will be leaving Haiti in 3 weeks.  We can not afford to let this happen so I am begging all of you to pass along this blog and help us raise the money we need.  LP, myself and all of the people that have worked with us have poured their hearts and souls into our mission here and now it seems that we will have to leave before our work is done here.  I really can’t say much more about it, except to ask that you help spread the word about what we are doing and get attention drawn to our mission here. 

I love you all very much


  1. Jason (screech) Owens says:

    Paul… I read your blog whenever I get a chance… good to hear you’re doing well. Hope you’re having a good time (: anyway… everyone at the Bang says hi… Stay alert and come home safe… fair winds and following seas


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