Dr. Benitez Haiti Update #4

Just hung up with Norberto and he sounds very deflated. They lost a 4 month old baby today. Brought in by the mother, very sick and so dehydrated they couldn’t start the IV. They took her into surgery to do a “cut down” (which is basically surgically opening a area to make sticking the needle in the vein more accesible). During the cut down procedure she crashed and he said four doctors worked on her before pronouncing her dead. He said the other docs were telling him, since he was the peds, it was his call to stop the code and finally after 45 minutes he did. It was then up to him to tell the mom. It has been a long time since he has been in that position, and I can imagine it gets harder with age. Then to make matters worse, as they were cleaning up the bed, a retired anesthesiologist got stuck with one of the used needles. They did a “quick test” (they had available at the hospital) on the mother and postmortem on the baby and determined they were both positive for AIDS. He said they called an Infectious Disease doctor in the States using the satellite phone and were able to start the doctor on some medicine that has been shown to greatly decrease the probability of her getting AIDS. He said there is a kit in the hospitals, put there by PIH (partners in health, an international medical missionary group) that has the meds for just this type of thing. They say that there is only a 3% chance that a doctor will get AIDS from a contaminated stick and this medicine drops that 3% by 70% so they are all feeling good about that …. but still …. very scary stuff.

He went on to say that he saw 62 patients today and the group saw 200. He finished by saying “we are all doing OK, we feel good about what we are doing and we’ve been able to help a lot of people”. It sounded like he was telling himself more than me ….

In re: to the flights. They think they have something out of the Dominican Republic on “tues or wed.” (which doesn’t sound very definite to me!). It will be a 12 hour drive but that is a lead they are working on. Please continue to pray for him and Papo and all the workers there, that they help as many as they can and then come home ~

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