Monday, March 8, 2010

The First Night Shift

Sent from Toni Brayer, M.D.

“We are having a long night and the conditions are very grim. There is no running water at the hospital and we often see mice running across the floor. Families stay with patients in the hospital, so there are many people sleeping on the floor and even under beds. Also food is scarce so families bring in meals for our patients.

There are about 45 patients in the medical ward alone – more in the ICU and pediatric units. Each of these wards is in different buildings/tents and patients are suffering from conditions like cerebral malaria, cancer, cirrhosis and heart failure. There are no diagnostic tests and little treatment available. Thankfully, we do have morphine now and some antibiotics.

Tonight I transferred a postpartum patient with sepsis to the ICU. This means the ICU doctor and nurse come over with a stretcher and literally carry her to another building. The ICUs are running codes all the time. We are at the hospital from 5pm to 7am – it makes for a long 14 hour night. We are trying to take shifts but with the acuity of patients it is hard.

Haiti is much more impoverished than I thought. Everyone is so poor and hungry and thin. I gave my box dinner to a patient family member who is helping interpret. We would not be able to help patients as best we can without him.”


  1. Toni,
    We are staying updated with your blog. What a tough time it is over there, but thank goodness for you and all of your staff who are over there. We are thinking of you and so grateful for people like you in this world! WE MISS YOU! Stay safe!

    The Ladies at 2100 Webster, XO

  2. Thank you Dr. Brayer for such wonderful updates!

  3. What a heart striking description. Sounds like a War Zone, that is hard to imagine how immensely difficult & challenging working in those conditions must be. Dr.Brayer,I admire all of the strength,dedication, & compassion all of you are giving, with the tough work you and the other doctors and nurses on your team are doing there!!! Truest definition of healing hearts, spirits, & minds you all have. Please stay well and safe.

    Does the hospital have electricity?