Monday, January 18, 2010

Kudos to CNN's Sanjay Gupta

CNN reported yesterday on the situation at a field hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Friday night.

Earthquake victims, writhing in pain and grasping at life, watched doctors and nurses walk away from a field hospital Friday night after a Belgian medical team evacuated the area, saying it was concerned about security.

The decision left CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta as the only doctor at the hospital to get the patients through the night.

Belgian Chief Coordinator Geert Gijs, a doctor who was at the hospital with 60 Belgian medical personnel, said it was his decision to pull the team out for the night. Gijs said he requested U.N. security personnel to staff the hospital overnight, but was told that peacekeepers would only be able to evacuate the team.

He said it was a "tough decision" but that he accepted the U.N. offer to evacuate after a Canadian medical team, also at the hospital with Canadian security officers, left the site Friday afternoon. The Belgian team returned Saturday morning.

I really don't understand how medical personnel who choose to go to a dangerous place to help injured victims can just bug out when they find out it might be dangerous there, leaving the injured behind to fend for themselves. Why even bother?

Gupta -- assisted by other CNN staffers, security personnel and at least one Haitian nurse who refused to leave -- assessed the needs of the 25 patients, but there was little they could do without supplies.

More people, some in critical condition, were trickling in late Friday.

"I've never been in a situation like this. This is quite ridiculous," Gupta said.

With a dearth of medical facilities in Haiti's capital, ambulances had nowhere else to take patients, some of whom had suffered severe trauma -- amputations and head injuries -- under the rubble. Others had suffered a great deal of blood loss, but there were no blood supplies left at the clinic.

Gupta feared that some would not survive the night.

He and the others stayed with the injured all night, after the medical team had left and after the generators gave out and the tents turned pitch black.

Gupta monitored patients' vital signs, administered painkillers and continued intravenous drips. He stabilized three new patients in critical condition.

At 3:45 a.m., he posted a message on Twitter: "pulling all nighter at haiti field hosp. lots of work, but all patients stable. turned my crew into a crack med team tonight."

The dedication of CNN reporter Dr. Gupta makes me proud to be an American. And his dedication didn't end with his Friday all-nighter. Agence-France Presse reported today that he went on board the US Navy ship Carl Vinson to perform neurosurgery on a 12-year-old girl to remove concrete that was embedded in her brain. She's expected to recover fully.

Great job, Dr. Sanjay Gupta! You make us proud.

1 comment:

Tsofah said...

That was very impressive.

As was the fact that Israel had a full field hospital complete with surgery and neo-natal ICU set up and going in Haiti before the U.S. had full medical personnel there.

When CNN gives kudo's to Israel, it has to REALLY impress!

There are lot of good people helping. People staying to help seems to be harder to find.