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Fundraisers slated to benefit Haiti

Original post made on Jan 29, 2010

A host of events are being held here in the local community to benefit victims of the Haiti earthquake, starting this Saturday with a collection of items by the Pleasanton Rotary Club and Open Heart Kitchen.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 28, 2010, 11:27 AM

Comments (8)

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Posted by Jim Coughlin
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jan 29, 2010 at 8:27 am

Yoga for Haiti Relief. 5:45 - 7:00 p.m. every Friday night at Downtown Yoga starting 1/29/10 -through 2/26/10.

100% of your payment for yoga class goes towards victims of Haiti quake and relief efforts.

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Posted by claudia Hess
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2010 at 11:50 am

PLEASE, PLEASE be careful who you donate to!!! The country is still in absolute chaos- I have been to Haiti! Even without an earthquake- it's very very difficult to get around.
It's best to maybe wait for a month or so-now the money is pouring in, the aid is pouring in- but the infrastructure is almost non-existent. In fact, the situation is dangerous. Donating at a later time, will give more governmental agencies and NGO's time to get better organized and get the aid to the people!

This is from a doctor who just came back:

I believe we went in with a reasonably comprehensive service we wanted to provide acute trauma care in an orthopedic disaster. Our plan was to be at a hospital where we could utilize our abilities as trauma surgeons treat the acute injuries involved in an orthopaedic disaster. We expected many amputations however came with a philosophy that would reasonably start limb salvage in what we thought was a salvageable limb.

David Helfet put a team together which included:
2 orthopaedic trauma surgeons
3 orthopaedic trauma fellows
2 highly skilled anesthiologists
1 general surgery trauma surgeon
2 synthes reps who were also scrub techs
1 trauma nurse practioner to do triage
2 OR nurses

Our equipment including a huge amount of anesth medications and equipment, ability to construct 150 ex fix both small and large, OR equipment including scalpels etc, OR soft goods, splint material, OR prep material.

We also had a plan of physician and equipment replac emnt that was dynamic where w/i 24hrs we could bring in what was necessary on the Synthes private jet.

We thought the plan was a good one.

We were incredibly naïve.

Disaster management on the ground was nonexistent. The difficulties in getting in despite the intelligence we had from people on the ground and david helfet's high political connections with Partner's in Health as well as the Clintons only portended the difficulties we would have once we arrived.

We started out friday morning, got a slot to get in friday that was eventually cancelled when we were on the runway to be rescheduled the next day. We diverted to the DR and planned on arriving in P OP saturday.

Once on the ground the hospital we had intelligence that was up and running with 2 OR's General Hospital was included severely in the earthquake and not capable of running functioning OR's as there was no running water and only a limited electrical supply on generator.

We quickly took our second option
Community Hospital of Haiti. We found approx 750 pt in the hospital upon our initial eval, the hospital had running water, electricity and 2 functional OR's
Our naivette did not expect that the 2 anesth machines would not work, there would be 1 cautery for the hospital, autoclave that fit instruments the size of a cigar box, no sterile saline, no functioning fluoro and no local staff only a ragtag group of voluntary health providers who like us had made it there on there own.

To summarize we had no clue the medical infrastructure of the country was so poor.

As we got up and running in the OR and organized the patients for surgery we communicated our new needs back to Synthes and more supplies were loaded for a second trip - these included battery operated pulse lavage, a huge supply of saline, soft goods in the OR. This plane landed as planned sunday pm, equipment was loaded on a truck and subsequent hijacked between the airport and the hospital.

At the hospit al we had zero security despite promises form NYPD and NYFD to provide that to us.

Our philosophy was to work like this was a marathon run the OR's around the clock with the idea that we would have a defined extraction time of 11pm tues. The plane that extracted us would come in with a new medical staff compliment to replace us. Equipment included urgent things to maximize issues that were nonexistent in the hospital that would enable us to provide better and more efficient care:
2 portable anesth machines
2 portable monitors for the pacu
Replacement exfix
Things that didn't arive with the previous flight

That planes slot was cancelled by the military at 6am tues.
We also previously had seen daylight in the remaining patients monday night haviving completed approx 100 surgeries. However on tues morning we found a huge # of new patients. The hospital was forced to undergo lockdown closing its gates to the outside and outside crowd becoming angry.

We also noted tues morning that many of the patients we were operating on were becoming septic.
We finished operating at noon tues, the last surgery our group assisting an obstetrician on a caesarian and resuscitating a baby that was not breathing.

We decided as a group the situation for us at the hospital was untenable supplies were running out, team was exhauted, safety a huge concern, and no extraction plan with resupply. We decided to make our way to airport thru the help of a hospital benefactor. Jamaican soldiers with M-16 were necessary to escort us out with our luggage as the crowd outside saw us abandoning the hospital.

We made it to airport on back of a pickup track, got onto the tarmac, hailed a commercial plane that carried cargo to montreal and had private jet pick us up there.

The issues we were unprepared for and witnessed were
1. The amount of human devastation
2. The complete lack of a medical infrastructure in the country
3. The lack of support of the haitian medical community
4. The complete lack of any organization on the ground. Noone was in charge, we had the first functional up and running hospital in the P OP area yet noone and I me NOONE came to the hospital to assess what we were doing, what we were capable of doing and what we would need, to be more efficient. The fact that the military could not or would not protect the resupply equipment on sunday or let the tues flight come in says it all.
5. Lack of any security at all at the hospital

I would take away that disasters like this need organization on a much higher level than we had with the clear involvement and approval of the military from the beginning.

Currently there is Noone obviously running the show and care is in chaotic at best. MD's are coming in country with no plan of what the are going to do. Surgeons that expect to just show up and operate are delusional as to what there role would be as without a complement of support staff and supplies they would be of limited or no value.

I hope this helps. We all felt as though we abandoned these patients and that country and feel terrible. Our role now being back in NY is to expose the inadequacies of the system to the media in the hopes of effecting a change in this system immediatly. We feel that the only way to really help now is an urgent programtic change and organization in the support of the medical staff on the ground and what is critically needed to expeditiosly bring in.

Cherrios on the tarmac are not getting it done on these patients which clearly would be savable if good care could urgently be provided.

Please share this email with everyone and anyone you find might help.

Good luck

Dean G. Lorich, M.D.
Associate Director
Orthopaedic Trauma Service

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm

You don't need to warn me because I only have enough for myself.

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Posted by Rotary
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 29, 2010 at 12:29 pm

The reason Rotary is working with MedShare on collecting crutches, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs is MedShare has the experience in how to deal with tragic events like this and they have been working with Haiti even before the earthquake on medical needs.

People have these items sitting around in closets and garages and they are desperately needed.

This was on the Associated Press today:
At the chaotic General Hospital in downtown Port-au-Prince, amputees groan in pain while recovering in canvas tents in the courtyard of the damaged structure. There is a shortage of painkillers as well as crutches, wheelchairs and physical therapy equipment, said Dr. Bob Norris, who leads an International Medical Corps team of physicians.

"We have a country full of people with new amputations who have to learn how to live their lives," Norris said.

We can do our part in helping by donating unused mobility devices to these people in Haiti. Hope to see you at our collection drive at Amador Valley High School from 9-4.

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Posted by RT
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 29, 2010 at 4:07 pm

This upcoming weekend Concannon Vineyard is donating ALL of it's tasting fees to Haiti relief. We are planning to donate to the Red Cross. Come enjoy some great wines and help our neighbors in need...

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Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I read this article from Dr. Dean before and truly have to ask what he was expecting? Its Haiti.

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Posted by Update?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm

How did the Rotary collection turn out?

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Posted by MedShare
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2010 at 3:54 pm

The Rotary Club mobility drive for Haiti was a huge success!
296 pairs of crutches
201 canes
283 walkers
77 wheelchairs

Thanks from the staff and volunteers at MedShare for helping us provide the gift of mobility to those with orthopedic injuries.

MedShare sent out our 11th shipment of emergency medical supplies on Wednesday, 2/3. All of our shipments have been airlifted directly into Haiti & the Dominican Republic.

Want to volunteer with us? visit to learn how you can help us sort surplus medical supplies for hospitals in the developing world.

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