January 18, 2010

At First Glance

Baptist Mission Hospital -- Fermathe, Haiti

Its 3:30pm and we have been on site for 5 hours. The Baptist Mission Hospital here in Fermathe has two doctors and about 100 beds. Since the hospital is 20 miles north of Port au Prince, it is normally used as a referral hospital. But it is all pretty simple; it did not have even a basic lab until last month; it does not have blood for transfusions; and it is very elementary.

For example, we have one patient being transfused.  She had a gastrointestinal bleed last night and her hemoglobin is only two.  There is no blood, so she is being transfused directly from the vein of a doctor of the same blood type.

All serious injuries are coming here.  The hospital consists of a single functional operating room, two large ward rooms, and a single long hall connecting them all. It has been overwhelmed.

It has been packed all day. You can barely move through the hallway.  We quickly toured the facility, made an initial assessment, and then we met with the exhausted limited medical staff.

Findings: Shortage of nurses, no triage going on, no medical records, no place to house postoperative patients. We have an anesthesiologist with us, but we lack basic anesthesia equipment. 

Patients: All ages, mainly fractures, the wounds that are now 6 days old are all infected. There is a shortage of pins and plates to stabilize the wounds.

I'm in a meeting now with 6 Samaritan's Purse members and hospital leadership addressing the issues above.

More later.  We need to unload the antibiotics.

Bill Frist, M.D.


Frist with Samaritan's Purse en route to Baptist Mission Hospital, witnessing devestation and rubble.

Picking up supplies along the way for hospital.