| Feb 17, 2010
Today I visited the Dekini Hospital, where one of our volunteer teams is working. In many ways, Dekini Hospital is a good example of what’s happening with the disaster response effort here.
Before the earthquake, Dekini Hospital was not a hospital. It was a large clinic. But, 85% of the hospitals in Port-au-Prince were damaged by the earthquake. Dekini Clinic was not damaged. As a result, it was immediately forced into service as a hospital.
Patients with severe injuries flooded the hospital. So did volunteer medical workers from all over the world, including a volunteer orthopedic surgeon serving with our teams. Today, three of our medical volunteers served at Dekini Hospital -- 2 pediatricians and one obstetrician. They joined volunteers from 9 different countries, camped out all over the grounds and in the hallways of the hospital itself.
Every day, volunteers arrive and leave. They bring with them medicines and supplies that must be organized for use by everyone. Patients sleep in tents next to the volunteer workers. Every day is a new challenge -- for staffing, medicines, workers, patients.
That’s a typical disaster response situation. Needs, resources, schedules and logistics change every day. In addition, other things happen. Staff get sick. Electricity fails. Cars break down.
Gradually, life at Dekini Hospital is becoming more normal. There’s now a nursing supervisor to put regular schedules together for nurses. The U.S. Army just delivered a new autoclave to help clean surgical instruments. People are now beginning to plan ahead rather than just for the next day.
That’s life for our staff and volunteers here as well. We’ve just put together our first 48-hour transportation plan to get our volunteers to all of the places where they are working around Port-au-Prince. We’re working on an organizational chart assigning key functions of various people on our team. Our longer-term response plan is becoming clearer.
With all of this change, one thing remains constant. Every day our volunteers are treating hundreds of sick people. Many have lost family members. Some are overcome by grief. Others, like little Sebastian, are filled with joy. I met Sebastian at Dekini Hospital today. The smile on his face and the life in his eyes was an incredible inspiration to all of the patients and workers who crossed his path.
The work here is very hard. The challenges are many. But, we’re truly making a difference. God is using our efforts to bless and encourage many. I’m glad we’re here.