Friday, January 22, 2010

Haiti: Eye-witness account of what's it like right now

The following email is a compilation of texts and phone calls from Aaron in Haiti. I met Aaron in Mt. Pleasant, SC not long ago. He's with Water Mission International but on this trip he's just with a group of doctors doing what they can. His description of the chaos they've been living and working in tells some of the horrific story in Haiti--and the grace of God in action. Darien

Sent: Fri, January 22, 2010 12:29:21 AM
Subject: Latest updates are at the bottom!

So here are the latest upsdates with a great answer to prayer at the bottom.
Thought the best way would be to just copy the reports the way he is sending them to me. He is able to text, but not email, so they are short and to the point.
Thank you all for your prayers!!!!!

There are 2 Haitian doctors at that hospital plus the 2 we sent down and 2 emts, seeing about 200 people a day!

Phone text messages from Aaron Stephens who is working with the team that flew down from Hilton Head last Friday, Dr. Rick Reed, Dr, Rob Belding, Mick Petrillo emt/pilot, Adam Kurtz emt.

They are in Bonne Fin at Hopital Lumiere. They brought down 2 surgeons, emts, and 1 pilot and a plane full of medical supplies, which are now out.

The Hospital is located 2 hours from Les Cayes airport, and about a 6-7 hr drive from Port-au-Prince.

Hopital Lumiere is about 20 miles west of  Les Cayes (toward PAP),  then  north (about 5 miles) from Cavaillon.  It is  about 70 miles south east of Port.  It is known throughout the country as has had missionary medical personnel there in years past.   Roads are passable.
 18.3946,  -73.6087

Monday 12:00 am

Besides text below he called last night and said. There have been several amputations, feet, hands, arms, etc...yesterday an 8 yr old lost her leg and an old man and little boy died.

They are staying at a missions house near the hospital and they have food and water, but the water will run out soon.

The area they are in was not affected structuraly by the earthquake, but the hospitals there are seeing patients because they are doing the 7 hr drive in the backs of trucks and on mopeds.

The people realize that they won't get help in PAP so they are moving out to look for help.

From:Aaron  8:45 am Tuesday

The wailing and tears and smell of dead tissue and desperate hearts is heavy today.  We've had two people die so far this week mostly due to DEHYDRATION. We have a church here now that is giving water from a bucket but w/o saline drips we will lose more.  7 day old open fractures w/o pain meds, sanitation, or anitbiotics and crowded spaces not sterile. It is BAD.
This hospital is a miracle for most. j

Stand by for some stuff I need you to get to Red Cross or GO and beg from Red Cross in PAP.

If you reach Global Outreach tell them where we are and that we have dehydration, tetnus, sepsis, open breaks that are 7 days old full of pus and gangrene.


Dire need of betadine, tetnustoxide,I.V. fluids, lap pads, ABD pads, 4x4 gauze, kerlex,klng, staple guns, disposable gowns and drapes.

We need all casting supplies, stuff for amputations. Redcross in PAP has what we need.  We just need to get it here.

Text from Aaron: 12:55pm Tuesday

Great news the U.N. is here with food and water...no med supplies but I gave them our list of desperately needed things and prayerfully we will get supplies. Maybe THEY can squeeze what we need from Red Cross. Pray for quick delivery!

Text from Aaron 3:45pm Tuesday

The smells of the poor people beign brought in by truck are unimagineable. The Dr.'s are makng life and death calls on age and making hard decisions on not "wasting" meds or treatment on those they can't save.Whew we have got it easy!!! 

Text from Aaron 4:32 Tuesday

I have been pulling orders from the docs and Mike when they come

Some are just too gone to be saved. Limbs are coming off that would have been saved if this happened in the states or if PAP hospital was standing :( It is that saving 1 leg could mean death for someone else,cause of the drugs it takes to save that leg. We could save several extremities if we had proper drugs.

Text from Aaron 8:23 pm Tuesday
Answered prayers are trickling in tonight we received gowns, surgical prescrub, surgical scrub, airmask, and some drugs, betadyne and IV fluids,tetanus toxide, to prevent an epidemic and such. Salavation Army sent food like rice and tuna that the church will handle tomorrow. We also received ALOT of aspirin and ibuprofen which we will hand out with water tomorrow. These people have endured 8 days of unimagineable pain with out a single pill. I will remember this the next time I get a headache. Bless the Living God of Isreal who hears the prayers of His people.Amen!


Text from Aaron 9:08 pm Tuesday

Pray we are about to lose a 7 yr old girl because of lack of oxygen.

Text from Aaron 9:36 pm Tuesday

As of now she is stable. I was washing her body with cloths and water. She was hot with rapid breathing and looooowww heart rate. I prayed for her and Mike did too but he cried real bad when he started to pray.  had to tell him " Mike don't cry out or the whole room will start wailing." He then focused on her.
Washing her I of course was reminded of obvious scripture references. I looked her mama in the eye, held up the water bottle and a rag and said, " Come you wash your daughter, sing to her." She did and her daughter instantly calmed down. Her heart rate went up and she is holding stable. Oh the power of touch!!


TEXT 8:17
One of the docs and I felt something around 4 am. It moved my bed and I put my feet down to bail. But nothing else.
Turns out it WAS an after shock we felt but went back to sleep.

TEXT 1:37
Mighty God!!!! U.N. Drs. are here with lines for our I.V.bags and are working in the ER.
Bless God for answered prayer!

TEXT 3:00
I've been on the floor for the last 2 hrs working with a UN guy from Urugray who speaks no english, with I.V. prep and I open stuff while he does the insertion. Then I tape a crutch to the wall to elevate the bag, cuz we have no IV stands. I pray for the people too. We just lost 2 people in an hour span.  Lost one in the ER where I have been the whole time. We went to put an IV in and he was not breathing. Alittle 5'2' UN lady was on top doing CPR but without oxygen or a de-fib he was gone. We lost a guy AFTER hs amputation due to cardiac arrest when they removed the trach tube, I watched the amputation in the OR but now he is gone.

TEXT 6:37
Pale and embarrassed. I really tried to help change a dressing on a patient. I only had to hold it and pour betadine on the pads while Adam did the work. I couldn't look. But I worked up the nerve 2 do it but then the patient in the next bed threw up. That smell and the horrible smell of gangrene on the foot was too much. Dr.Reed took over. Other than that I am fine.

TEXT 8:00
Oy! I am tired. I worked with a UN guy named Samuel from Uruguay, who spoke no english doing I.V.s It was cool. Took about an hour and  got to lay hands and pray for about 5. It is an awesome challenge. We are buddies now. Later we were "talking" in the p.t. I said I liked his UN issue Uraguay patch and his shirts cool too. He commented on my utility knife, I handed it to him and he cut off the patch and gave it to me. I said keep the knife, 20 min. later he took off his shirt and gave that to me too. I have an official UN mission gear, how sweet is that. He is a Christian, has 4 kids 2-22, and has been with the UN for 8 yrs in Congo and Haiti.


TEXT 9:30am
The U.N. is back today they are helping people already. They spoke with a Spanish mission who will be sending an orthosurgeon an anesthesiologist and some stuff we need. God is indeed awesome and my experience here has been awesome!

Phone call!!!9:30pm
Still planning on coming back Saturday or Sunday, just found out we have to go through customs now.
Cool thing today. A family came in to pray for one of the patients, when they finished praying they started singing praise songs in creole. After they finished there was an amazing calmness all over the hospital for the first time. After all the long days, we should rest well tonight after that. Aaron recorded them singing on his phone. Can't wait to hear it! The Dr.'s and Emt's are working 18hr days, pray for continued strength. I will be working along side one of the Dr's tomorrow and am really looking forward to praying with patients. Update on 7 yr old girl , she is stable and will be able to have surgery on her leg instead of amputation tomorrow!!!! Praise God!!!!