Monday, January 25, 2010
My Personal Thoughts...
On a personal note: the people of Haiti are far from pitiful or pathetic. They are a resilient, stolid, and strong people. They cope despite natural and man made disasters that attempts to thwart their very existence. We, the more fortunate, would crumble under the weight of such subsistence. The patients queue in a relatively orderly and peaceful manner. They really triage the cases and the young sick children are brought to the front without a problem. They are extremely sensitive to medications as most of them have not been exposed to Tylenol, ibuprofen, or other painkillers and anaesthetics. We are well stocked on local anaesthetics and sedatives/narcotics: so there are no "CNN torture chamber moments" where operations take place with anaesthesia on screaming patients. The macabre images of surgeons operating on patients with local or painkillers shocked me into action. KEMH donated a number of these medications--thanks to Dr. Donald Thomas, the Chief of Staff. Sadly we are running out of other supplies, which appears to be the case for my colleagues who are working in the region. We need a central coordinated body to get us the additional supplies. This is not a money problem-- this is an organisational and distribution problem. We are in close communication with our regional UN director and she is sending a chopper to get what we need. The chopper pilots are staying at our hotel---we are lucky. In this age of technological advances, we should be able communicate rapidly and efficiently. Hopefully I will have good news on our supply issue tomorrow. In the meantime, we truly blessed that these people accept us in this wretched tragedy. Often, in Bermuda or US, we question whether we are truly needed or appreciated. While this dilemma will not be solved easily, I know that I am exactly where I am meant to be; that feeling is peaceful, overwhelming, and no one can take it away.
Christopher L. Johnson, MD, MSc, FACS