Last week, Cooper Orthopaedic surgeon Eric Farrell left on a two week mission to continue to provide much needed medical care to Haitians injured from the earthquake that devastated the region more than a month ago. Dr. Farrell is part of a mission organized by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association. He was asked to provide assistance aboard the USNS Comfort, now stationed in Haiti.
He recently sent us an update about his mission:
Dr. Farrell comments, “The physical devastation is still incredible; however, it appears that some of society was getting-back to “normal.” People were out and about on the streets, walking and selling goods.”
Dr. Farrell is working with Andrew Burgess, M.D., an international leader and expert in disaster relief who helped to establish and found Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
Dr. Farrell writes: Wednesday, a group went to visit one of the field hospitals to triage cases to be brought to the USNS Comfort. The team identified 12 patients who needed transfer. Dr. Burgess immediately began telling the team on the Comfort about a hospital that was unbelievably well-run. It was clean, well organized and “these guys were doing great work”. There were groups from Harvard, University of Chicago, Hershey and others. There was a rehabilitation doctor there. Their ORs were clean. They knew what they could and should do and who should be transferred.
I asked him where it was and he said it was an Orphanage that was converted to a hospital called Fond Parisienne! I was so proud to hear that. This is the facility where Cooper’s medical mission team was two weeks ago and was the first group to work in transforming the Orphanage into the medical facility. The WHO has set-up a camp and has running water. A Brazilian contingent brought electricians in as well. What the Cooper team started, has become a great success story. It is having a huge impact. It is also a place that we can begin to transfer our patients to knowing they will get good care. I am hoping to get over there soon.”
“The volume of cases has dropped off considerably from 2 weeks ago, but there is still plenty for us to do. The cases are infection/wound coverage and delayed fixation. Unfortunately we are seeing a lot of infections from injured limbs. For instance, yesterday, we debrided a 12-year old boy who was sent to us from a field hospital. He had sustained a femur fracture that was infected and needed to be cleaned up. The pins became infected and he now has a severe infection that has to be operated on. Yesterday we worked on an ankle fusion, a severe distal femur fracture and repeat cleansing of the pediatric patient’s femur.”
We hope to receive more updates to share from Dr. Farrell in the coming days.