Nowhere to go for earthquake victims upon release from hospital
Orderlies pushed Jertha Ylet’s bed from the center of the hospital ward to one side so Dr. Michelet Paurus could plug in his electric saw. She was silent as the doctor cut off her plaster cast in measured strokes.
Today she would have to leave the hospital, the doctor said.
Ylet had resisted until the cast came off. She’d been at Les Cayes’ General Hospital since being brought there Aug. 14, unconscious and with her leg crushed, after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake destroyed her house, killing her father and two other relatives and seriously injuring her brother. There is no home to return to.
A surgeon inserted a metal rod in her lower left leg on Thursday. Ylet, 25, had not been out of bed, much less tried to walk, since she arrived. Her 5-year-old daughter, Younaika, who was not injured, shared her bed and spent her days playing with other children around the ward.
More than a week after the earthquake on Haiti’s southwestern peninsula killed at least 2,207 people, injured 12,268 and destroyed nearly 53,000 houses, Ylet represents an emerging dilemma for the region’s limited health care services: how to turn over hospital beds when discharged patients have nowhere to go.