Thursday, December 09, 2010

Daylight-- December 9, 2010

12 year old Zenden with severe cholera. He had no palpable radial or brachial pulses and his arms and legs were cold. Zenden survived. (Photo by John Carroll)

This morning Port-au-Prince was covered by clouds and a light drizzling rain (farinen). But at least it was light again.

When I asked the nurses at the Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) if the sun was going to come out today they said they didn’t know, and one nurse said that "Haiti is crying".

Haiti should be crying after the last several days.

The nurses also told me that the streets were still bad this morning. A lot of rock throwing in Tabarre. And tires on fire here and there. And downtown Port-au-Prince was bad as usual.

The Port-au-Prince International airport is still closed. American Airlines employees can’t make it to work because of the streets, and if airlines passengers did arrive, where were they to go? The roads are blocked.

The good news is that we did not lose any cholera patients last night. I thought that three patients could have died late last night, but somehow they pulled through. (Two of the three appeared deceased last night when I checked on old man and a 24 year old girl lying on cots next to each other. Both got fluids poured into them.)

A few more very sick patients came in this morning including a three year old sweet and brave little girl with no palpable pulse who started vomiting at 5 AM this morning. The vomiting was followed by profuse diarrhea. She was sleepy between IV sticks which made me worry.

And an unresponsive 19 year old girl who was brought in by her mother. She had been sick for less than 24 hours.

Both patients were quickly bolused with IV solutions and both woke up.

The quantity of our IV solution remains a big concern to me. Are we going to have enough of this life saving fluid as the days go by? Do we need to ration it when it shouldn’t be rationed?

I discussed or IV fluid problem with my wife Maria yesterday via e mail and Maria was able contact an assistant of Senator William Frist, MD regarding our CTC’s lack of sufficient IV Ringers. After several e mails the assistant told Maria that Senator Frist would work on improving our supply! (The WHO was unable to deliver IV solution again today to the CTC due to the barricades in the roads.)

I have noticed that the cholera patients in our CTC that have the “best” families seem to do the best. Their cot areas are cleaned better by the family, their multipurpose bucket is frequently dumped and cloroxed, and the family will offer them oral rehydration solution more frequently. The patients with good family support also notify staff if the IV solution is ready to run dry.

The unfortunate patients whose family is not constantly present don’t do as well, especially if they are kids. They just don’t get the attention that they need and can start to swirl downwards.

This afternoon I called my motorcycle chauffer and he came to the CTC to get me to take me back to the guesthouse.

We returned going down Route National 1. He drove very fast.

There were very few cars on Route National 1 but more people were on the streets than yesterday. Women were selling vegetables on sidewalks and men were soldering like a fairly usual day.

There were no burning tires but as we approached Sarthre, which is a zone in LaPlaine, the road was soot black for about a quarter mile where many tires had been burned yesterday.

It so so sad to see this deadly societal disarray.

The Haitian people are very angry over the fraudlent (magouya) election results. So they take it out on someone. Right now they hurt each other by stopping the flow of the day and travel everywhere in the country.

And if their barricading and violence hurt the business guys too much it would be stopped. But it doesn’t, so the disarray goes on for a while, and more poor people are denied basic needs (like medical care).

And the cycle continues...

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