Monday, June 27, 2011

Inside the cholera ward

You can't really grasp the scope of the outbreak until you go inside. The old gift shop, a relatively small building with several rooms that are windowless, is crammed full of cots for patients suffering from cholera; 168 as of this morning. The cots are almost too close together to walk between. As with the hospital, family members crowd around to provide all the general care for the patients. Only purely medical tasks--IV's, injections, medications are done by the staff. Keeping the patient clean, changing the diaper is the job of the family. In addition to the building, there are 6 white UNICEF tents, also full of patients. The sickest patients, though, are in the building, including two tiny rooms with babies and toddlers. Patients wait outside to be evaluated and possibly admitted. Some have an IV running while they wait.

The Haitian staff and a few foreign MD's and RN's who have come to help are exhausted. MD's and RN's with experience in the developing world are needed NOW. Contact information may be found on the Hospital Albert Schweitzer website.

The housekeeping crew in gloves and rubber boots work endlessly to keep the floors clean of the worst contamination. Despite best efforts, trash piles up outside--empty bottles, used gloves. The soles of our shoes are sprayed with chlorox as we leave. Incredible.

More later about the first day of teaching, the students and the hospital.

No comments:

Post a Comment