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Disaster Preparedness The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing

Tsunami Relief - Lynne Hudson (Spring 2007)

My experience in Haiti was varied and intense. I volunteered at private (there are no 'public hospitals in Haiti) missionary run hospital in the town of Limbe that is nestled in a lovely green river valley. The hospital has 5 Haitian physicians ..all assigned there for 6 months after medical school. Volunteer surgical teams from the USA occasionally visit and preform elective surgeries during their stay. The hospital is small, crowded and primitive (according to Western standards); all patient care and meals are provided by the patients' families who camp at the bedside. I worked in a 'diabetic' clinic (not overseen by any of the Haitian doctors) and did blood sugar, BP and urine protein tests on all the patients ..then calculated the insulin doses to cover them until a physician takes over their management.. or until another volunteer returns to provide another reassessment.

I also worked in the orphanage run by the hospital..with 20 severely disabled, cognitively impaired children of all ages. Each child had been abandoned and left at the hospital. The care of the children was difficult to accept..as they were mostly bed bound and often in deplorable conditions. We immunized and 'de-wormed' all the children, The experience there was hard but provided a professional and personal growth opportunity.The lesson learned was..that providing even the smallest service for a short period of time is truly..better than not at all..