U.S. healthcare donates, cares for patients
As federal lawmakers argued about the future of the nation’s healthcare system last week, U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers were busy sending supplies and personnel to aid earthquake victims in Haiti.
Within days of the Jan. 12 earthquake, U.S. physicians, nurses, air medical transport teams and hospital executives traveled to the island nation to provide medical services and equipment, despite considerable infrastructure and logistical problems (Jan. 18, p. 7). On Jan. 22, the World Health Organization reported that although thousands of people hurt in the Jan. 12 earthquake are receiving intensive surgery, “great needs exist for appropriate post-operative and nursing care,” while preventing infection and ensuring access to food and water for the entire population are still major concerns in the region.
Last week, Nashville-based hospital chain HCA said it committed to matching employee contributions and providing in-kind donations that totaled $1 million, which will be sent to relief organizations such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. Valley Baptist Health System in Harlingen, Texas, has raised funds to send teams of 10 physicians, eight nurses and two operating-room technicians by Jan. 30 to work in five groups on weekly shifts in Cap-Haitien, which is located on Haiti’s north coast. In Pacific Northwest, the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and the Washington State Hospital Association have established a partnership with Medical Teams International to raise donations and provide medical care. The group—NW Hospital Partnership—had hoped to raise $100,000 and has already raised about $150,000, according to Andy Van Pelt, director of communications at the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.
“A lot of infection, a lot of amputation, a lot of bone-crushing injuries,” is how Van Pelt described what clinicians are seeing on the ground in Haiti. “We worked with Legacy Health System here in Portland to pull together an urgent meds list that the doctors there are requesting—Amoxicillin, morphine eye cleaner—medications they just don’t have.”
And in Kentucky, Owensboro Medical Health System sent more than $91,000 worth of