After a two-week break back in the States I returned to Port-Au-Prince three days ago. Hard to even begin describing the scene.
- A huge fire took out part of the OR area. (No one was injured, at least.)
- The entire pediatrics ward was flooded and all the sick and injured kids had to be moved into the adult ward. That was OK, except it really IS a ward, and with all the extra cots for the kids, it was almost impossible to move around and take care of patients.
- Wednesday night we had only two nurses and two assistants for sixty patients. I ended up with responsibility for the entire unit and had 32 patients under my care. We got the worst injured of patients from a 15-car auto pileup and I worked nonstop for about fifteen hours. Gaby and I got a one hour break before we had to pass out medications at midnight.
- Morale is very different here than it used to be. People feel disconnected and even superficial on some levels. One of the MD's came back from the UN bar unconscious. She was carried in by her colleagues and whatever she drank just leveled her. Several of us protested the fact that the residents with her were just going to put her to bed and "watch" her. We were afraid she might vomit and choke on it. Finally a CRNA put her in the PACU (post anesthesia care unit) until she recovered.
- Tonight a Haitian medical student and I are the entire nursing staff for some forty patients. It seems the other nurses were too busy doing god-knows-what to show up. But the med student, Sam, is a gem. We'll get through this.