Haiti Update: There are always problems you can't fix #HaitiDrDispatch



I received the following from Anil on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 23:48 ET. I've also made minor spelling and grammar corrections and have tried my best to fill in missing words. I've added hyperlinks where I thought they might help.

From: Anil S. Menon
Sent at 23:48 ET/Haiti Time

At some point Paul Auerbach turned to me and said, "Isn't funny that no matter where you are, kids are always the same?" We were driving to the General Hospital and looking at two children playing and happy, ignoring the rubble that surrounded them. For the most part, Paul was right. Despite the endless sad stories contained in the hospital walls, the people of Haiti exhibit the same resilience as those kids. There is enough strength and hope and belief to keep moving forward. Enough to keep us going.

Some people have to stop, and some good friends are moving on, like Mike, Benjamin, and Abby from Mount Sinai. I never really learned their last names, but Mike may have been their chair of surgery. You wouldn't know it because he was the first surgeon to leave the OR and make daily rounds through the entire facility with me. We pulled patients from a wooded area on campus and took them directly to the OR or cleaned their wounds where they rested. Right about the time that Sanjay Gupta was considering the fact that there was too many doctors
[Mike] was identifying the real issue as a lack of organization and quickly building a structured surgical service. By the time CNN aired its show the confusion of multiple surgeons working independently was fixed.

There are always problems you can't fix. We want to give everyone a job but have to work with the hospital administration to fill positions. Guyto, Davidson, Reggie and Lawrence worked with me from day one as a service to get things moving, but I can't find then all spots here.

The most poignant moment came when Bob [Norris] found the cousin of the woman who died in our care yesterday when we rushed her to DMAT in the back of a pickup. He always takes personal responsibility for people (which makes him good) and had to tell her that her cousin died. It is never something you get comfortable with, but he did his best. She cried, thought about the future and just asked for a job at the hospital so she could make it without any relatives. Knowing he couldn't get [her] a job I think he gave went into the headquarters and gave her all the money he had.

I don't think any of us expect to leave with anything.
--

Anil Menon, MD is a clinical instructor at Stanford School of Medicine focused on surgery and emergency medicine. His research interests are Aerospace Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Wilderness Medicine. He graduated from Stanford Med in 2006, received a degree in mechanical engineering in 2003 and became a full ER doctor in 2009. He has practiced medicin in combat in Afghanistan and will be practicing aerospace medicine next year at NASA. Menon is a flight surgeon assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing (F-15s) of the Oregon Air National Guard, and he's part of a team sent to Haiti by Stanford.

This entire series is chronicled under the HaitiDrDispatch tag