Tuesday, January 26, 2010

News from Phuoc in Haiti (courtesy of Erin Jones-Le)

Dear friends,

(Read below for your invitation to meet Erin at Gallery One.)

A quick update on Phuoc in Haiti...

He now has a local phone, so I have had a couple brief conversations with him over the past couple days. He sounds like he's in good spirits, but tired. He's only getting three to four hours of sleep each night, but is eating well.

Here is an excerpt from an email Phuoc sent me from PAP on the morning of Jan. 23:

"Driving through the city makes your heart sink to its lowest depths. Seeing the toppled presidential palace with thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camping across the street makes you wonder what further can be done to break a nation's spirit. The hospital is guarded by dozens of soldiers with big guns, walking through the wards and operating rooms (ORs) on their security detail. More later."

Right now, Phuoc's main job is to coordinate the transfer of the most critically-ill patients from the PIH clinics/hospitals to the US Navy's Comfort ship. He has been picking up patients, and accompanying them for the bumpy ride to the helicopter pad at the port. From there, the the US military transfers them to the ship via helicopter. As of last night, this morning's task was to transfer nine patients from Cange to the port. He was working hard to hopefully arrange helicopter rides directly from Cange, to spare the patients (especially those with spinal cord injuries) from having to endure the pain and discomfort of a much longer ride.

Let's hope the helicopter transfer happened this morning! Phuoc says that another ship with 1000 beds is scheduled to arrive in about 10 days, coming from the West Coast of the US.

Our friend, Natasha, (another PIH doc) has been put in charge of coordinating the work of all the PIH volunteers. The first shift of volunteers is leaving, and the second wave is transitioning in. Not an easy job, as she is a cultural and language translator, along with the go-to person for the volunteers. I spoke with Natasha briefly yesterday, and as always, she was extremely positive and in good spirits.

Thank you for continuing to keep Phuoc, the other volunteers, and most importantly, the people in Haiti in your thoughts and prayers.

Kenbe fem,


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