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J Pediatr Surg. 2011 Jun;46(6):1131-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2011.03.042.

Disaster response in a pediatric field hospital: lessons learned in Haiti.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatric Surgery, Miami Children's Hospital and FIU College of Medicine, Miami, FL 33155, USA. cburnweit@aol.com

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This study outlines the evolution of a pediatric field hospital after the January 2010 Haiti earthquake.

METHODS:

Project Medishare set up a field hospital in Port-au-Prince 48 hours after the event. Our institution staffed the pediatric component for 45 days, with sequential deployment of 9 volunteer medical teams. Evolving facility and manpower requirements and changing patient demographics over time were evaluated.

RESULTS:

Delegations consisted of surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, operating room (OR) personnel, physical therapists, pharmacists, and support staff. Primary goals involved creation of a child-specific ward, pediatric OR, and a wound care center. Major inpatient demographic changes occurred as time from the disaster elapsed. Initial census showed that 93% of the patients were surgical admissions with 40% undergoing operations, mostly fracture and wound care, over the first week. Eight weeks later, medical illnesses accounted for 70% of inpatients, whereas OR volume dropped by more than 50%. A second trend involved increasing acuity of care. Initially, children were admitted for serious or limb-threatening, but usually not life-threatening, injuries. Within 2 months, one third of the patients were housed in the developing NICU/PICU; and only 12% were admitted for injuries related to the earthquake. This change in patient needs led to alterations in facility requirements and in staffing and leadership needs.

CONCLUSION:

A disaster involving significant casualties in a populated area demands the rapid development of a field facility with pediatric personnel. Requirements for equipment, manpower, medical records, and systems addressing volunteer stress and ethical dilemmas can be anticipated.

PMID:
21683211
DOI:
10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2011.03.042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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