In 1996, I worked at Hopital Albert Schweizer in Haiti. As you may know, Haiti suffered a major earthquake yesterday damaging most of the buildings in the capital Port au Prince, killing and injuring many people. Here is a report from the hospital:
Afternoon Report Wednesday, 13 Jan 2009
As we have all heard many reports of the terrible disaster---a 7.0 earthquake in Haiti, the worst in 200 years. Up to 3 million people may have been affected. So far, tens of thousands of people have died.
Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, located 40 miles NW of Port-Au-Prince was able to withstand the recent devastating earthquake and is currently operating with full staff helping victims. With mass casualty protocols in place, the medical staff is evaluating each patient, performing diagnostic tests and delivering life saving care. Due to the expertise developed over its 54 year history, Hôpital Albert Schweitzer Haiti (HAS) is one of the few institutions positioned to provide timely hospital care for the injured. As the flow of people urgently seeking care increases over the next few days and weeks, our resources will be pushed to the breaking point. It is critical that we receive support to help us continue with our mission.
Ever since early this morning, a steady stream of vehicles, mainly the open-back pickups which serve as public taxis on Haiti's roads, has come to the front of the hospital. In the back are one or two people, their legs or arms covered in bandages or clothes. HAS security staff rush out to the truck with a backboard or gurney, and bring the patient inside to be triaged by the emergency team.Now, in early afternoon, a crowd of over 200 people are outside the hospital, friends or neighbors of injured patients. They rush to the arriving trucks and try to help to carry the new patients inside. Occasionally, the combination of the person's injuries and the truck ride are more than can be sustained by the patient, and the family members, with great wailing, adapt to the shock of the loss of a loved one. A sound system has been set up outside, so that family members may be called into the hospital to meet with doctors.Each patient is brought into the Observation Unit and quickly evaluated. Some are sent to for an X-Ray or lab test while others are taken immediately to the holding area outside surgery, where both operating rooms are being used full time.All beds have been pressed into use, and still there are patients on benches. Gradually, some of the early arrivals and less injured are prepared for discharge.
Systems at HAS are working well; preparation and practice have paid off. The greatest resource, however, is the dignity and grace of people who have suffered a great shock and sometimes tragedy, and remain calm and show concern not just for the people with whom they have come here, but for others as well.
This is the most serious challenge ever faced by HAS in its 54-year history, and while we are currently coping with the onslaught of the injured, we urgently need support.
At this moment, we don't have the capability to accept material goods or personnel. Our greatest and most urgent need is for funds to pay overtime wages to our dedicated staff, and to buy replacement medicines and supplies.
We will update the website with news of relief efforts. To make a donation that will have immediate impact, please go to
Thank you again for the many expressions of help and caring that are coming from around the globe.