dictated over phone by Robin Schwartz and Dr. Peter Tinnemann
At our St. Helen home in Kenscoff, all of our staff have returned to work but we are unsure about the teachers since school is currently not in session. A truckload of food donated by the World Food Program arrived at St. Helen and we estimate that the supply will last four weeks. Also UNICEF is providing us with a steady milk supply for the children in the hospital.
Adult cases are still decreasing at the hospital. Today there were roughly 60 volunteer medical doctors, nurses and paramedics. We have improved our OR shifts and working 24-hours on surgeries. It is a very inspiring team who are in good mood and spirits.
There are roughly 200 patients and only a few are camping outside. This evening local radio stations talked about numerous aftershocks and patients received news by cell phone feeling anxious to hear this news.
The medical team medevaced 15 patients with spinal cord injuries and two patients with closed head injuries. A US volunteer physician is helping to facilitate the transports with the help of Senator John Edwards, together with Paul Haggis, both of whom visited the hospital today. Sean Penn and Maria Bello, representing Artists for Peace and Justice also came to see us. The University of Miami medical team is on the ground in Haiti. They assessed these 17 patients and approved their transport for treatment. The Haitian patients will be returned to Haiti after they receive the specialty care which is not available in Haiti.
Mobile clinics were in town today and working fine and we have plans for the program to expand. At the moment the UN and Haitian ministry of health described 600 temporary makeshift campsites from 1000 to tens of thousands of people. The UN is currently trying to organize a response to these camps. Help requires shelter protection from the rain, food, water, sanitation, medical treatment and a vaccination campaign. Concerns rising in the health community and other NGOs are that there will be a shortage of food and potential epidemic outbreaks.
A few of the St Luke street school buildings were destroyed in Cite Soleil and Wharf Jeremy but some are still intact and some are in the process of being assessed. Regardless, all schools are closed. The buildings that are usable will be opened as clinics or for food distribution centers. The medical clinic in Wharf Jeremy is still standing and appears to be okay.
The next step for outreach activities is to go into the communities and provide services to the people living in temporary shelters. Top priorities are food, water, sanitation and vaccinations. Since the St. Luke Outreach team has worked in these communities for years, we are in good position to help.