Saturday, February 6, 2010

What's in Your Supply Closet?

If you've got it, send it.  If you have friends who might have it, please don't be bashful.  Pass this list around:

Project Medishare/ UM Haiti Relief

Medical Supplies:
Ace Elastic Bandage - All Seizes
AE Hose - All Seizes
Alcohol Pad Pads
Anesthesia Circuits
Arm Slings
Bandages - 4*4 Str
Bandages - ABD Pad
Bandage - Kerlix
Band Aids
Bed Pans - Dispos
Betadine Ointment
Betadine Solution
Blood Pressure Cuffs
Butterfly Band Aids
Butterfly IV Cath - All Seizes
Casting Materials - ALL
Cotton Rolls
Crutches - Both Adult  & Peds
Disinfection Solution for Instruments
EKG Electrodes - Dispos
Endo Tach Tubes - Peds to Adult All Seizes
Eye Pads
Extr Fixation Devices
Foley Cath - All Seizes
Foley Cath Bags
Gloves - Exam All Seizes(Latex FREE)
Gloves - Surgical All Seizes
Gowns - Patient Dispos
Gowns – Yellow
IV Catheters - 14,16,18,20,22 & 24 Gauge
IV Central Line Triple Lumen Cath Kits
IV Needles - All Sizes
IV Sets - Primary with ports
IV Solution - D5 Water 500 & 1000cc
IV Solution - D5 W/.09% 500 & 1000cc
IV Solution - NS 0.9% NS 500 & 1000cc
IV Solution - Lactated Ringers 500 & 100cc
Irrg Solution Bottles - Water 500 & 100cc
Irrg Solution Bottles - NS 500 & 100cc
Mask - N95
Mask - Surgical
Mask with Shield
Needles - All Seizes
Razors - Shave Prep Dispos
Surgical Scrubs - All Seizes
Surgical Scrub Brushes – Wet
Skin Staplers
Sutures - Nylon
Sutures - Vicryl
Syringes - 3,5,10,20 cc
Syringes – Irrigation
Folding tables
Mayo Stands
Surgicl Back Table
O2 compressors
Tape – Surgical (all sizes)
Walkers (both beds and adults)

Please contact Chris McHugh - 305-986-6369, or Bill McKay - 305-243-5329, if any additional questions
Please direct any shipments to: Project Medishare/UM, c/o Unv of Miami Hospital and Clinics, 1636 N.W. 7 Ave, Miami, Fla.  33136, Attn: Don Siler - Haiti


Rescue is at hand.  Vroom Foods has kindly donated several cases of caffeinated mints and chews.  It hit Medishare's Florida warehouse yesterday and arrived here today.  All in all, we've gotten the equivalent of over 5,600 cups of coffee.  Kleiman and I live on this stuff back home and it's great for an environment like this.

Some of the docs started gobbling the mints down.  Had to warn the that these babies pack a wallop -- 100 mg of affeine for each.

This will keep us going through those long shifts.

I worked a full day.  Three spine cases.  . . . and now I'm going to reorganize our O.R. supplies and equipment.

Thank you, Vroom!!

Hospital Blues III

Most of the last batch of nurses went home.  Again.  We're supposed to be getting another wave of volunteers today or tomorrow, which is good because the other morning I got up at 3 a.m. to  relieve another nurse.  Last night we did to C-section births, which is much better than traumas, but still scary because we are so far from really sterile conditions.

Meanwhile, one of the nurses who would have stayed but was run off by Administration, Lauren, continues to .  be a mystery.  They actually sent her a letter from a lawyer.  No shit -- in the midst of all this. They are claiming she was "overly stressed" and that they asked her to leave (bullshit!  They through her out) purely for her own good.  Lauren has dug in with an emergency medical transport team and is now doing really risky work.

F U.N. and Games

We're getting harrassed by the fucking UN again.  We tried to get to UN restaurant and were met by the same asshole who nearly ran me down last week.  There are 36 MDs and RNs here who are so frustrated over this.

It’s very bad here for a lot of the volunteers because there are very sick people here.  Staff gets dehydrated working in 90+ heat, loses electrolytes, becomes ill.    Massive dehydration.   Working very long hours in intense heat.  No fans and only occasional AC.  I've tasked Kleiman with getting us donations from FRS. 
We'll see.

Meanwhile we can't get a drink or a warm meal.  The losest we get to food is Chef Boyardee spaghetti. T
This is completely insane.  The UN is making us walk outside the compound on the roads they claim are sooo dangerous.  Asher carried no weight.  We are still being screwed by the U.N.

Meanwhile rumors are the the U.N. is bringing in a Love Boat.  Yes, in the midst of the disaster, word has it that a cruise ship has been commissioned where frazzled relief workers can repair.  To suites.  For a mere $100/night, or two months' income for most Haitians.

Although at this point, the Love Boat sounds pretty good.  The most nightlife we have here is rats.  Big ones.  I wonder if they were that big before the quake.  Then I try not to think about it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Battlefield Medicine, Medicine as Battlefield

Lauren, the nurse who recruited me to Medishare, and who has been here from almost the beginning, was banished today.  Coldly and abruptly.  Lauren was an excellent nurse and many of the “old timers” here are bummed.

About two weeks ago she gave an interview to a reporter about the makeshift morgue they had set up in the early days after the quake.  She didn’t know she was being filmed, and it should not have mattered and did not matter to her.  The reporter asked her where they were putting the bodies and she took him to some makeshift morgue.  I’m sure the morgue was horrible, but it was utterly unavoidable at that point. 

Medishare found out about it and told her to leave today.  Rumor has it that the reporter, back in Miami, learned of her exile, got pissed off, and interrupted a huge Medishare fundraiser in Miami, supposedly yelling at the donors for eating fancy food when the doctors and nurses on site here aren’t fed properly. 

I’m afraid I might get on The List because I am openly critical of the operation when I see things that should be improved.

A lot of nurses are pissed.  We took up a collection for Lauren because she was booted out with very little money and Medishare would not even help coordinate a flight home for her.  I have asked Jerry and Carla to look out for her.  Lauren is trying to make her way to the Saint Damian’s field hospital in Tabarre to volunteer there.  I just don’t do it on television in the project’s home town.

.  .  .    .  .  . 

We did get 21 fresh nurses in today, which is a great relief.  It was a tough day for them to start. 

We lost an 8 year old girl today.  In front of her family.  And in front of a bunch of other patients.  She had just received wound care, which is excruciating under the best of circumstances, and had been given pain medication.  Too much, as it turns out.  Those responsible for watching her didn’t catch it in time and she coded.  And died.

She wasn’t my patient, but we are all in close proximity and I know all the kids.  And love them.

We sat in a circle today, about twenty kids and their families, while several of the transporter/translators held a prayer vigil and sang the most beautiful harmonized french version of the Lord's Prayer I've ever heard.  I felt very privileged because the Haitians are very particular about who they let into the circle.

A lot of the new nurses looked at us very oddly because we were very separate from them, but they made no attempt to join either.  They just stood in a corner and stared.  It was like one of those scenes in a war movie where the new replacements have joined a battlefront unit just as it mourns a loss, and cannot find a way to fit in.

We are grateful for whatever time they can give, but the steady stream of replacements means that time and energy that should go to patient care is continually diverted to orientation, coordination, and team building,   I just wish some of them could stay longer.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Where Have All the Nurses Gone?

I just finished working my second 20-hour shift.  I can do 16 hours if I have to, but 20 is just too much for me and for my patients.  A bunch of the RNs from Florida rotated out and returned home.  We're supposed to get forty new nurses in tonight.  I hope they come ready to hit the ground running.

Last night we lost a young kid, and then a 22-year old woman.  Very hard, very bad day for losses.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Lifeline Gets Choked Off -- Hard

We are out of oxygen.  The cylinders are empty.  Can't anesthetize people without it.  Can't (or shouldn't) do surgery on unanesthetized people.  So no oxygen = no surgery.  No surgery = needless, preventable deaths.

And since the USS Comfort is full to overflowing, and our government which seemingly has no trouble getting troops down here has stopped all government life flights, it is not a good situation.

No tank refills on the horizon although Kleiman and one of his New Orleans buddies, Marc Vezina are doing everything they can to get us some.  Maybe Monday night or Tuesday if we're lucky.  Maybe only a dozen or so people will die by then.