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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3/9/10 - Team 7, Day 3

Update from James Dudley, MD:

Good evening from the Mission of Hope. The crickets are chirping the team to sleep in their respective bunks and tents, as things wind down on Tuesday evening. The evening after dinner brought lots of pleasant conversation and excitement about the work done today and the challenges facing us tomorrow. One of the highlights today was the work of the orthopedists. The team did a very difficult repair of an unstable fracture of the tibial plateau - the broad top of the shin bone. The fracture had been set at the time of the earthquake but was still unstable even though some bone repair had started. They were able to put the fragments back in good position, using a plate and screws to stabilize everything. The patient has an excellent chance of regaining full use of his leg. Each morning, there is along line winding its way up the hill to the clinic. By the time the gates open, many have already been in the queue for several hours. Our Paramedics triage the sickest to go to our small 3-bed Emergency Room for giving IV fluids, and monitoring. Three other doctors and their translators work steadily to see the many others Meanwhile, our Physical Therapist stays very busy, between therapy sessions with the orthopedic patients on the hospital ward, and wound care in the clinic. One of the interesting cultural aspects we have noticed is that when a Haitian undergoes surgery or a serious injury, it is common for them to stay in bed, waiting to get well. It requires significant education and encouragement to convince them of the benefit of early and sustained mobilization following surgery. Even in the few days on site, we are seeing them make gains from those efforts.Today's musical moments we're varied and mostly spontaneous. Anyone, anywhere is liable to break into song, and although the words are in Creole, the hopefulness conveys in a universal language. And when one starts, others join in. The Haitians seem to express themselves in song as easily as in conversation. The singing starts early in the morning, on rounds in the wards and in the waiting area outside the clinic, and goes well into the evening. Around sundown today, the large open-walled church was full of worshipers, singing full force, sending echoes several hundred yards up the hill to the hospital wards. There, patients and their families, who stay with those hospitalized to feed and help care for them, heard the singing. Within a few notes of hearing each new song, they have joined the chorus. And it feels like real healing is taking place.

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