by Bill Frist, M.D.
January 19, 2010
Last night, we visited Double Harvest Hospital about an hour away from Baptist Mission Hospital. It is a tremendous facility that is in early stages of establishing a relationship with Harvard's Partners program. We decided to send one of our surgeons there (Dr. Warren Cooper, who all of my boys have operated or been with in Sudan over the years). Warren can do it all.
Then back to the hospital compound where we were treated to a fantastic home-cooked meal (I asked, "What's the sauce for the rice?" The cook said "I don't know but you will like."). Great conversation as everyone gathered in their scrubs, exhausted, to recount their experiences of the day. The nurses have got things really organized.
We were sleeping in sleeping bags by 10pm. Slept well in room with 8 others. We can't drink water, and there is no hot water. Very comfortable though, seriously.
Up at 5 am to take 45 min. rough journey to town. Palace in shambles as you see on television back at home. Thousands and thousands of people displaced to field and the square in front of palace. Obviously no water and no latrines. The sights and smells in the early morning hours you don't feel from tv ... Stench, some crying, people searching for water, fires burning.
We are now running to the airport early am for supplies. Only thing short supply now is cast materials and pins to externally fix broken bones. Ran into a medic (James L. Clark) who is former special forces and who did medical work with me just after Katrina when we were both seeing some of the 3000 patients who flooded New Orleans airport just after levees broke. Small world and big hearts.
As I'm on the tarmac looking through palettes of supplies, I think how much regular old people at home have helped in response to my personal requests ... The medicines and IV fluids I brought in are now in people saving their lives. I think of the people at Centennial Medical Center (Tom Herron and Micki Slingerland who met me early Sunday just a few hours after my call) and the people at the local Walgreens on Harding and Jennifer Dilliard (district manager) who today are sending in some much needed antibiotics. And all the people who have contributed to our foundation Hope Through Healing Hands (I am immediately channeling the money to where I know it can be used on the ground right now, making the most difference.) Thanks to all.