Helping in Haiti Blog: Local doctor gives inside look at medical needs

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  • Hope for Haiti
  • Mission of Hope - Haiti
  • American Red Cross
  • Text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti
  • World Harvest Mission
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Contact Nesly Loute of the Haitian American Association of Southwest Florida at or (239) 601-2023.
  • Contact Angie Valentini of Helps Outreach at 239-273-2258 or visit them at 2025 J&C Boulevard in Naples.
  • Text YELE to 501 501 and 5 dollars will go toward Wyclef Jean's Haiti earthquake relief fund
  • Americans concerned about family in Haiti can call the U.S. State Dept. for info: 1-888-407-4747

Dr. David Perlmutter is one of the doctors who travelled with Hope for Haiti on Wednesday to help survivors of last week's 7.0 earthquake. He will be sending periodic updates to the Naples Daily News from Les Cayes, where refugees have been arriving in truckloads.

8:38 a.m. Thursday

Cayes is a coastal community about a three hours drive from Port Au Prince and is the headquarters for Naples based Hope for Haiti. It has become a major destination for the exodus of refugees from the capital. We arrived around 2 p.m. Wednesday and made our way to the town's hospital.

Clearly the hospital was unprepared for the number of casualties who had somehow made there way out of the capital in search of medical care. We first went to the surgical ward which was basically a hallway lined with injured souls either awaiting care or recovering from surgery. I was quite taken by the fact that despite suffering fairly devastating injuries, so many of the patients appeared calm, even in spite of the fact that the hospital has no narcotic pain medication whatsoever.

We visited with Maurie, a 28-year-old woman whose right leg had been crushed in the quake. Clearly, she was in need of an amputation as her leg had become gangrenous and would soon take her life. I met up with the hospitals only surgeon, Dr. Bellevue, and shortly thereafter we took Maurie to the operating room. Truth be known, it's been well over 30 years since I've done surgery, but fortunately, some things are not easily forgotten. I wish I could say the same thing for high school French.

Maurie received a spinal block and we amputated above the right knee. This procedure obviously requires cutting through bone and unfortunately the hospital's only saw broke during the procedure making me wonder what will happen for the next patient. After the procedure we returned to the injured. Fortunately, I had brought along a good supply of powerful narcotic pain medicines like morphine and Demerol so we were able to provide the first pain relief any of the patients had received since the earthquake.

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