Andrew, a physician at Loma Linda University, writes via email:
My good friend Dr. Scott Nelson a pediatric orthopedic surgeon is on the ground and already working in Port-au-Prince Haiti (PaP). Within moments after the shaking stopped Scott went to work trying to secure a means of transportation for him and his surgical team to get from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to PaP. I've been on the phone with both him and his wife Marni no less than 20 times and have lost count of the emails in the last 48 hours as we have tried to establish the condition of the SDA hospital and how LLU could support him in PaP.
We (LLU) received post quake satellite imagery late yesterday which was acquired earlier in the day. After analysis of the imagery it appeared that the SDA facilities survived and were already functioning as a trauma center. Based on that information Scott chartered a private plane to fly him and his team to PaP. Early this morning (1/14) Scott called to say that the PaP airport had been closed to incoming flights but that there was still a chance of getting in and he was going to try. Around noon, while in a Haiti response meeting with Dr. Hart and other LLU VP's my cell rang, it was Scott, in the plane, ready to take off, still not knowing if he would be able to land in PaP. Around 3:30PM I got a call from Marni, the pilot had called her to tell her that they had made it and Scott and team were there and on their way to the hospital. I have just received the following update from Scott:
We were fortunately able to make a landing after circling PAP airport for one hour. They gave our pilot 3 minutes of time to stay on the ground. We were met by a team of people who were waiting for our plane and had good vehicles to take us to assess a couple of hospitals. Most of our equipment was placed on another plane which did not make it today. We found parking lots full of fractures, open wounds, traumatic amputations. The damages are every bit as bad as seen on CNN. Dead bodies are laying on the sidewalks in many places, some have been collected by trucks.
The first hospital we visited was not equipped to do orthopaedic surgery even under normal conditions. We then went to Hopital du la Communitie Haitien a 75 bed community hospital in Freres near Delma. There are many orthopaedic cases filling the parking lot and patio as everyone is too scared to be inside a building. One 3 year old child was about to get his arm amputated by an opthamologist and she was relieved to turn the case over to me. The family was even more relieved to know that we could save the arm. Tomorrow we will do further surgery on him and others. The hospital is not damaged and they have power and running water available. There are 2 OR's that are quite nice. We were not able to visit Hopital Adventiste D'Haiti, but we will try to assess the situation there tomorrow as well as some other locations. We plan to begin operating at the Hopital du la Communitie tomorrow when our equipment arrives. Meantime we will try to team up with some of the rescue teams and stay in touch with the media.
To all those interested volunteers who want to pack goods and work - I do not yet have much of a needs list, but will say that there are orthopaedic injuries of all types and do not hesitate to mobilize your resources. I am trying to identify several places with at least some minimal infrastructure where we can safely treat people. More soon.
We are being well taken care of.
Clearly God's hand has been with Scott to get him where he is. Scott has operated in Haiti more than 20 times over the past 5 years and I believe there are very few people better suited to the task he has before him. Clearly he is already saving limbs and lives. Please pray for Scott's continued success and safety and please consider the links below. I will try to keep you up to date as Scott sends updates.
Nadia McGill, Public Relations Assistant for ADRA International, reports:
Friday morning, ADRA's emergency response team approaches the international border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
An international emergency response team from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, this afternoon after entering from the Dominican Republic, bringing with them water treatment systems, tents, mobile clinics, and medical personnel to help alleviate a growing humanitarian crisis.
The group, which departed the Dominican Republic’s capital of Santo Domingo early Friday, January 15, arrived at the border town of Jimani, about 150 miles from Port-au-Prince, during late morning to find scores of Haitian refugees entering the Dominican Republic on foot and by car in search of medical care at a local medical clinic. According to a first hand report, severely injured survivors were being airlifted from Haiti aboard helicopters and brought to Jimani, which serves as one of two main cross border thoroughfares, where a unit from the Puerto Rico U.S. Air National Guard has set-up a command center.
“There are a lot of people leaving Haiti. Many are injured, including children, and they need immediate assistance,” said John Torres, Senior Public Relations Manager for ADRA International, who is traveling with the team.
According to Torres, the situation on the ground is dismal, especially in Port-au-Prince where the team arrived at approximately 3:30pm local time. Buildings have been destroyed, fuel shortages are widespread, and the humanitarian situation has become severe.
“There are a lot of dead people,” said Torres while driving through Port-au-Prince Friday afternoon aboard an ADRA convoy. “It looks like the city has been bombed. People are trying to dig by hand and move the crushed concrete. On the grounds of the presidential palace, thousands of people are staying in makeshift shelters.”
During its initial response, the agency expects to distribute more than 2 million water purification tablets, provide medical treatment through a team of doctors and emergency medical technicians, and dispense antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, and other medical assistance. ADRA has already committed $1 million to its response in Haiti, and more aid is expected to arrive shortly.
Here are two links where donations can be made to support Scott:
Cure International is the organization Scott has worked for the
last 5 years in the Dominican and stepped in to provide him initial funding simply to get to Haiti and set up shop. Scott committed a significant amount of his own money to charter the plane. Cure blog: http://blog.helpcurenow.org/blog/
Cure Haiti donation page
Long term funding of the SDA hospital in Port-au-Prince Haiti where Scott is likely to spend the next few months. LLU has setup a special fund specifically to support the hospital/Scott. http://www.llu.edu/news/articles/2010/haiti.page
Donate directly to ADRA here. Or by phone: 1.800.424.ADRA (2372)