Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The arrival of the first relief team
I was the only one left from the Assessment team besides Ted, the fuel relief person.
Last night the first relief team arrived with about 11 members, including an orthopedic physician, an ER doctor, a Haitian pediatrician, a med-ped doctor and several physician assistants.
Today we started with sorting through the supplies brought by this team. The nice bonus was we had Jim, a professional cook with us and for the first time, we had real breakfast.
We planned to run two new clinics: one in Carrefour and another in Bon Repos. With fresh supplies we had a late start. On our way we saw UN and US soldiers distributing sacks of rice to crowds of people waiting under the hot sun. We drove through the market that sent off stench of rotten vegetables and fruits, slums in the midst of garbage, waterways choked with garbage and cans, streets filled with trash and rubbles. These were unthinkable places for us to live but they were hogs' heaven. Indeed hogs were happily feasting in the waterways.
Because of traffic jam, it took us two hours to arrive at our new clinic in Carrefour. The first team only had to walk to their clinic in Bon Repos. When we arrived at the Carrefour Clinic, there was already a crowd waiting at the entrance. We took an hour to set up our clinic and supplies and began to see patients after a quick bite of PB & J.
The patients at Carrefour were patients with chronic medical conditions requiring long term follow-ups. Many had run out of medications and could not see their doctors because of the earthquake. Almost all the patients I saw did not know what they were taking, in any case we had limited number of medications, substitution was the rule. Soon we were told by the people running the pharmacy that we were out of many medications. We ended our clinic at 4:30 pm, having to turn away many more, promising them that we would return.
On our way home, we passed through Port-au-Prince. At dusk, the devastation was surreal. Burning of trash and tires added to the sad state of affair of Haiti, the environmental disaster that it is already in.