“We continue to evacuate critically ill orthopedic patients. If we are unable to secure a helicopter transport, our next option is to take the patient via ambulance. It’s a long ride to Port au Prince and patients with painful fractures may not be able to tolerate the bumpy ride.
For several days we have been attempting to evacuate a woman with a severe femur fracture, which had become infected. We were determined to evacuate her, so we prepared to drive the patient to Port au Prince accompanied by an anesthesiologist.
Above Liz Petruzzella R.N. (California Pacific Medical Center) helps John Donovan M.D. (anesthesiologist, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center) perform a peripheral nerve block. The nerve block is used for hip surgery and helps manage the pain associated with transport.
While waiting for the ambulance, we suddenly learned that a helicopter was arriving to take her by air. We improvised, quickly folding down the seats of an SUV and driving to the landing zone with her legs sticking out the back (see photo below).”
Helicopter transports are usually done by the U.S. Navy. Here a corpsman accepts our critically ill patient.