By Rocky Cagle
Johns Hopkins Go Team disaster medicine member
On the first day here at University Hospital in Haiti I was assigned to the ICU. The role of the ICU here is to received patients that are complex from the ER and post op from the OR.
As I walked onto the unit at 7 a.m., I was looking for nurses to receive a report from them that took care of these extremely sick dying patients at night, but there were none. I began rounding with an American RN to "train" me for this ward to take charge of it for the next 2 weeks while I'm here. As I walked from patient to patient reading their 1-2 page chart, I realized I was in for a rough 2 weeks. The unit had no electricity or lighting. I was soon starting IVs with my headlamp and taping the IV with out dressings because of lack of supplies.
Many people needed to be ventilated but no vents. There was no privacy for patients if you can only imagine one room with 10 pateints and one RN for those patients.
Working with my Creole translator I didn't see a doctor until 1130 a.m. Working off what I have taught to the best of my ability, I worked for the rest of the day with a Haitian doctor, an American RN and an Haitian RN taking care of 40-50 patients.
Patients here are in great need of our help and are very thankful we are here.