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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

Voice from Haiti: Injuries, Efforts, Needs, 'Please Pray for Us'

Published January 15, 2010 10:11 PM by Valerie Newitt

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature." --  Helen Keller

That apt quote is provided by Marcia Lane, director of Haiti Nursing Foundation, as she faithfully passes along an eyewitness account of the immense struggle for survival in Haiti.

Marcia writes, "I'd like to share excerpts from an email that came in from Suzi Parker of Austin, Texas.  She and her husband John have been working in Leogane to help get the hospital reopened.  Her eloquent account has been edited; she apologized for her mistakes as the computer she was using didn't have a well-lit screen."

Here are some of Suzy's own words from Haiti:

"At night we sleep in the yard behind the hospital where the bandstand was. It has fallen, as has the Episcopal school. There are 200-300 people who sleep in that field at night. They sing hymns until almost midnight, and we wake up to a church service, with hymns, a morning prayer, and the apostle's creed. The evening sky is glorious.  In the field there is a real sense of community.  Of course, we are the only blancs [whites] there...

"The injuries we have seen at the hospital are enormous, skulls exposed; one woman died in the yard.  Another woman's leg was cut vertically to the bone, with muscles showing.  Doctors worked and saw over 300 people with cuts, fractures, etc.

 "Of course, we have seen looting.  The end wall of the guesthouse by the shared drugs fell and it was open to the outside. My friends can imagine how I shouted down about 20 looters in the guesthouse. Righteous indignation works wonders, as does a tiny bit of pushing people to get out. 

 "The priority today has been finding a way to get supplies to Leogane.  We keep hearing how FSIL School of Nursing has become a central location of care for the people of the city. But we just heard from Hilda [Alcindor, dean at FSIL] that the generator and water pump are broken. 

"There are so many nurses and doctors here, standing by and ready to help, but it's still not possible to fly into Haiti unless you're with certain relief efforts. One of our board members, along with 300 other Haitian American doctors and nurses, is trying to get clearance for their plane to land tomorrow. They can do so much good if allowed to enter Haiti.

"From someone at the Gates House next to FSIL comes this list of most urgent needs: Medical supplies are number one. (Antibiotics, analgesic;  some people are already having diarrhea because of the poor sanitation situation.) The most important thing for now is cask because a lot of people have broken legs and arms.  Some need to be operated ASAP. There is no anesthesia.... there is a lot of need...  Gloves, face masks, infection control kits, hands care products, sterilizing solutions, IV fluids, Adhesive medical tape, Antiseptic and wounds cleaners, PAIN RELIEVERS, ANTIBIOTICS, Anxiolitcs and sedatives.

"We can start here at the nursing school and maybe setup another station at the stadium where there are a lot of people as well... I should not forget that there is a big need of TENTS because it will take a while before anyone has someplace  to live...."

Suzy also remarked: "I have never understood joy in the midst of suffering, but now I do. The caring I have seen, the help we have received from the Haitians, the evening songs and prayers are wonderful. The people will survive, though many will die. Please pray for us." 

2 comments

My understanding is that BSN is Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, but you haven't psased any tests.  RN is Registered Nurse.  My friend got her BSN, but took her 2 years to pass her RN test to actually gain the right to be called an RN.My sister-in-law now wants to go to nursing school and get her associate's degree in nursing, and she tells me she can be an RN afterwards (I guess after taking her test).  So she will not have her BSN, but can still be an RN.Hopefully that make's sense.Some are degrees, some are certifications.

Chelsie Chelsie, vzymRUWP - jQOzOYXY, FfGlBogcFztVnHqFMWd October 23, 2012 8:18 PM
XpNeMBREdJa LA

Dean Hilda Alcindor, RN, of Haiti's FSIL School of Nursing offered words of hopefulness this morning

January 18, 2010 2:18 PM

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