China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FOCUS -

ship’s re­sources for those with acute ill­nesses or in­juries.”

On the day it opened, the field hos­pi­tal treated 65 pa­tients. The sec­ond day brought 85, and there were 131 on the third, ac­cord­ing to Lu Jing, the head nurse. The fa­cil­ity is now re­ceiv­ing more than 200 pa­tients ev­ery day and is open 24/7 so treat­ment can be pro­vided for as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble, she said, adding that the “pa­tient ra­dius” has widened. .

“Ini­tially, most of the pa­tients came from the sur­round­ing vil­lages, but as word spread, peo­ple started to ar­rive from a city 200 kilo­me­ters away.”

Leyte Pro­vin­cial Hos­pi­tal was badly dam­aged dur­ing the typhoon, forc­ing the im­me­di­ate sus­pen­sion of ser­vices. Stand­ing just 2 kilo­me­ters in­land, the hos­pi­tal was en­gulfed by surg­ing wa­ter, and some of its roofs were washed away.

As the largest hos­pi­tal in the re­gion, the LPH usu­ally re­ceives an av­er­age of 100 pa­tients a day, ac­cord­ing to Ros­alle Uy, the su­per­vis­ing nurse. Haiyan not only dam­aged the

Work­ing along­side lo­cal peo­ple and dis­as­ter relief teams from other coun­tries, in­clud­ing France, the Peace Ark’s crew helped re­pair some of the hos­pi­tal’s roofs and cleaned up the de­bris and mud in some rooms. They also erected tents to be used as stor­age fa­cil­i­ties and staff dor­mi­to­ries and built a he­li­copter pad, plus a jetty for wa­ter trans­fers.

Stand­ing at the jetty, which bears a painted red cross and the name “Peace Ark”, the ves­sel was eas­ily vis­i­ble as it rode at an­chor in the gulf, gleam­ing in the trop­i­cal sun.

The jour­ney from the field hos­pi­tal to the ship takes less than 10 min­utes by he­li­copter and around 30 by speed­boat.

“Un­for­tu­nately, trans­port is still a big prob­lem for us, es­pe­cially in bad weather,” said Chen.

He re­called an hour he spent wait­ing at the jetty in a down­pour with a pa­tient. The pa­tient was los­ing blood and Chen was des­per­ate to get him aboard the Peace Ark. “The weather was too bad for the he­li­copter. I was very anx­ious as I watched the boat slowly draw closer in the choppy wa­ter. In emer­gen­cies, de­lays can some­times prove fatal,” he said.

Trans­port dif­fi­cul­ties aside, Chen said the field hos­pi­tal needs more staff and equip­ment to pro­vide fur­ther treat­ment.

“As the only emer­gency sur­geon, I’ve only had six hours sleep in the past two days, but pa­tients with acute in­juries still need to be sent to the hos­pi­tal ship.” Con­tact the writer at pengyin­ing@ chi­


A Chi­nese doc­tor pro­vides ad­vice to moth­ers at a tem­po­rary med­i­cal fa­cil­ity in Ta­cloban, Philip­pines.


Chen Ruifeng checks Joyoe Ga­dia, whose leg was crushed dur­ing the typhoon.

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