Gheskio Operating Rooms Functional

Published on 
January 20, 2010

Update from Dr. Henri Ford, surgeon-in-chief at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (January 19, 2010):

"The operating rooms are fully functional and we are seeing many infected wounds (many where gangrene has already set in).  We're also seeing a seemingly endless number of fractures, many of which require amputation because there has been no one able to care for them in time.

New sets of problems are emerging due to a lack of centralized care coordination: 

  • Extremely low levels of orthopedic supplies are resulting in restless locals because of the bottleneck for orthopedic care that is developing.
  • Medical supplies simply aren't arriving fast enough.
  • We have a limited ability to transfer people to other medical facilities for care because, they too, are overwhelmed.

Centralized care coordination would be ideal to determine which clinic has capacity, but that's impossible currently because of the lack of infrastructure in the country.

In addition, we are seeing public health issues develop which need to be addressed rapidly. 

  • Due to thousands of people and families living on the streets without food to eat or water to drink, we are seeing infants and children come to the clinic with diarrhea and upper respiratory infections. It's hard to turn them away because they are desperate. But we cannot do much for these problems except in cases of severe dehydration.
  • People are also desperate for food and water and we are beginning to see violence as a result.  Tonight, we saw two separate incidents right outside the clinic - one person was shot in the thigh by the robber, while another sustained a significant blow to the head.
Dr. Jeffrey Upperman

These types of issues underscore the importance of our hospital’s disaster preparedness work being managed by Dr. Jeff Upperman, Director of our Pediatric Trauma Program.

On a positive note – I sent pictures to Dr. Mark Urata, Chief of our Division of Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery, about a degloving injury (where skin was completely removed from an individual’s scalp and forehead). 

Dr. Mark Urata
Dr. Mark Urata

Dr. Urata responded almost immediately with great advice for how the case should be handled in the short and long-term and even offered to see if we can have the child come to the States for definitive reconstruction in the near future.

His response and willingness to help made me excited to see the support that the Haitian people are receiving from Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.

That’s all for now."