Dr. Benitez Haiti Update #2

In re: to his personal cell, he has been able to text but there is no connection for dialing out or receiving calls from me. He said everyone slept well, the house is very comfortable and he is not sure who the people are that own it but they have been “treating us very well”. As he said last night they are three to a room but he said there are also four people sleeping out on a terrace in tents. The family cooked breakfast for them, there are showers and the electricity in the house is being run by a generator. He noted that it and one other house were the only lighted homes he saw while he was talking to me at 7p.

They set up this morning a triage area under a tent in the yard of the hospital. He called it “primitive medicine. Between all the docs they saw about 150 patients, he himself saw about 30 kids. They think that as word gets out they are there those numbers will increase. He says a lot of what he saw were wound infections. Two week old wounds that were either never treated or bandaged superficially and are now infected. He said he gave more IM injections today than he had in the last 20 years. Basically, just giving them what we would give over a ten day, by mouth dose in a one time shot and hope for the best. He also said they treated a lot of patients that were given external pins for fractures last week by the surgeon but sent home without antibiotics (because they didn’t have any) and the pins are now infected. So again, gave them shots of antibiotics and asked them to come back  for the next few days so they could get shots every day. He said a guy, about 50 y/o, came in with a crushed leg that had gangrene but refused to have his leg amputated. They gave him an IM shot and some antibiotics by mouth and sent him home. But told him they will be there for the week if he changes his mind. Lastly, he said the supplies he brought have been awesome. They took 25 pairs of crutches and started giving them out, only one to each patient and today alone gave away 35! He said they could “have used another 200”!

He said most of the kids that came in today were parentless. Either brought in by grandparents or other family members, in one case, a 12 y/o old boy that brought in his 7 y/o brother because he was coughing and feverish and turned out he had pneumonia. He told Norberto through the interpreter that they lived in Port au Prince and their parents were buried in the rubble and not found so they came to this town where they had family.

He also elaborated more on Port au Prince. He said the military and Israelis have set up “hospitals” in the hangars of the airport to treat the people of the capital but the city actually is pretty deserted. He said there is nothing left standing and you look at a “10 block area of rubble and know there have to be dead people under there with no access to get through the piles to get to them”.  As you leave the city you see more tent cities set up and people just walking the roads with their few belongings going back to their families in the country. He said they passed an area where they all commented on the stench and the driver pointed to an area were they were driving by a mass grave.

He reiterated he felt safe, the family they are staying with are wonderful to the point of even finding the group some Haitian beer tonight 🙂 He isn’t sure where they got it and it isn’t cold but he said it was great!

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