UM Nurse Helping Haitians to Care for Themselves

University of Maryland Shock Trauma nurse Laura Cabahug was a member of UM’s first medical team to provide relief and assistance following the devastating earthquake in January. Cabahug, who specializes in operating room trauma and repair, talks about that experience as well as the work she and others are now doing to ensure sustainability of organized, safe health care in Haiti as it rebuilds from this disaster.

UMMC Haiti Relief Efforts By the Numbers

By Chris Lindsley
Blog Editor

The University of Maryland Medical Center, in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Catholic Relief Services, has been sending teams of medical volunteers to Haiti since shortly after the disastrous earthquake there on January 12.

Below are some interesting facts about our Haiti relief efforts:

21 – The number of medical teams we’ve sent to Haiti.

97 – Age of possibly the oldest Haitian patient we’ve treated.

261 – The number of health care providers we’ve sent to Haiti.

600 – The number of surgeries our medical teams have performed in Haiti.

6,000 — The number of patients we’ve treated in Haiti.

12,000 – The weight of medications and other supplies UMMC shipped to Haiti with our first medical team to arrive there.

$96,266.26 – The amount of money raised from UMMC employees for our Haiti relief efforts.

$100,000 – The amount of money donated by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

$1 million – The amount donated by Catholic Relief Services.

Previous Posts by Chris Lindsley

Sharing a Laugh in Haiti

The University of Maryland Medical Center has been sending medical teams to Haiti to assist in the earthquake relief efforts since January. While we’ve treated tens of thousands of patients and saved many lives, this photo — of Shock Trauma OR nurse Steve Clevenger sharing a laugh with a young Haitian patient — captures the spirit of what our relief mission is all about.

Steve Clevenger cares for a Haitian child

Nurse Manager Named Hometown Hero by the American Red Cross

By Malissa Carroll
UMMC Web Team

Connie Noll, the nurse manager for adult psychiatry services at UMMC, has been named a Hometown Hero by the American Red Cross, with whom she has been a volunteer since high school and throughout her career.

“Connie’s lifelong career with the American Red Cross demonstrates a commitment to caring for others that is truly heroic. It is a privilege and honor to work closely with someone whose dedication and compassion for others is seemingly limitless,” says Lisa Rowen, senior vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer at UMMC. Rowen and Judy A. Slide, director of nursing for neurocare, behavioral health and radiology, nominated Noll for the award.

In 1994, Noll received training in disaster mental health (DMH). Since then, she has responded to help survivors at the most devastating disaster scenes in the country. As a Red Cross volunteer, Noll helped residents of Van Nuys, Calif., cope after a 6.8 earthquake struck the region.

When terrorism struck this country – in Oklahoma after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and on Sept. 11, 2001, in Pennsylvania and New York, Noll provided services at the scenes in the immediate crisis and in the months afterward.

She also visited New Orleans one month after Hurricane Katrina to aid local relief efforts. There, she served as manager for staff mental health and oversaw 2,000 paid and volunteer Red Cross staff. Last year, Noll provided support at the site of a plane crash in Buffalo, NY, where she accompanied families of the crew to the crash site.

In addition to her work with the national Red Cross, Noll remains active at the local level as well. She leads Red Cross Mental Health volunteers at the organization’s York, Pa., chapter and is a part of the Disaster Action Team that responds to local fires and other civil events in an effort to provide crisis intervention, psychological first aid and emergency referrals.

At UMMC, Noll has also been responsive. She was instrumental in establishing the Workforce Resilience Team to aid Medical Center employees after the economic recession began in 2008.

Haiti: Mission of Hope

WBFF-TV FOX 45 reporter Jennifer Gilbert and videographer Darren Durlach were embedded recently with the UM medical team in Haiti. They reported on UM’s ongoing relief efforts to help the Haitian people recover from the devastating earthquake that shook the country in January 2010.

This cover story features the work the UM team is doing in Haiti, which has treated more than 1,000 patients. This includes the moving  story of a 97-year-old diabetic Haitian woman, who was suffering from gangrene in her leg and was near death. Her sister, from Columbia, Maryland, flew to Haiti to help her mother get the care she needed. She was turned down for treatment at various hospitals in Haiti before connecting with the UM team, which performed a life-saving leg amputation.

Stories From Haiti: “I Will Never Forget What We Were a Part of”

By Steven Louis, M.D.
Director of Orthopaedic Trauma
Good Samaritan Hospital
Hinsdale Orthopaedics

Editor’s Note: Dr. Louis and several colleagues were invited to be a part of the sixth University of Maryland Medical team to help earthquake survivors in Haiti. Below are excerpts of an e-mail Dr. Louis sent to the UM team after returning to Illinois.

It is difficult to put all of what has happened and all of what has and is still going through my head, down in plain words on paper.

When people ask me how was the trip, my first response was hell. It is a great way to let them all know right off the bat of the conditions down there, from the structural, economic, climate, transportation, security, social and political situations. They all perk up after I say this. Then I go into what great work was getting done and how rewarding it was to be part of it. I tell them that I have never worked so hard in my life, and that there is LOTS more work left!

I want you to know that my team and I will never forget what we were a part of down there. As I said to you when we were down there together, we appreciate the invitation to help out, and we are all ready to spend another taxing (but rewarding) week down there.

You guys, in partnership with Catholic Relief Services, have put together a real class act that has far-reaching potential to make a huge difference. It is our honor to have been a part of the team, and we hope to be a part of a future team.

Haiti Relief Event on March 2nd Features Live Video

By Bill Seiler
Assistant Director of Media Relations

Physicians, nurses and other health professionals from the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center and the UM Institute of Human Virology will share their experiences in caring for earthquake survivors in Haiti at a day-long Haiti relief event at the University of Maryland Medical Center on March 2nd starting at 9 a.m.

People can follow the event on Twitter and by watching a live video stream on the UMMC Web site. At 1:20 p.m., the leader of the current medical team in Haiti will participate live with an update on the current situation.

Following the January 12 quake, UM medical teams, through a partnership with Catholic Relief Services, began treating survivors of the earthquake as part of a long-term commitment to provide ongoing medical care. The first UM team left for Haiti on January 28. The teams are rotating every week to 10 days and are working at the site of the St. Francois de Sales Hospital in Port-au-Prince.

People can help support UM’s medical relief efforts by making a tax-deductible donation to the Haiti Support Fund, or by calling 410-328-GIFT (4438).

Two Stories From Haiti

By Chris Lindsley
Blog Editor

Wonder what the situation is like in Haiti? Two members of the first University of Maryland Medical Center team there to provide relief for earthquake survivors — surgical technologist Jake Smith and trauma anesthesiologist Cynthia Bucci, M.D., both with the UM Shock Trauma Center — share their experiences.

Jake Smith: “It’s rough down there. The people definitely need our help.”

Dr. Cynthia Bucci: “The conditions were devastating … it was very chaotic.”

Photos From Haiti

Editor’s Note: These photos of Haiti were taken by members of the University of Maryland teams in Haiti to provide medical care to the earthquake survivors.

More Reflections From Haiti: “I Fear for the Patients”

By Anthony Amoroso, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine

Editor’s Note: Dr. Amoroso was part of the first University of Maryland team to go to Haiti to provide medical care to earthquake survivors. The following is an excerpt of an e-mail he sent to his wife the day before leaving Haiti. Read Dr. Amoroso’s first Haiti blog post.

I’m going to try to get out tomorrow. A bit torn, patients have gotten word of our departure and getting a bit upset. Every day we make some improvements and it becomes a bit addictive. We worked late tonight doing what we can to make transition to incoming group. There are about 5 people staying on and another 10-15 coming tomorrow. We know every patient in the hospital and have a medical and surgical records on all of them. We only have a few backlog cases waiting the new team.

We leave with 5 functioning operating rooms, an organized stock room, almost automated lab, an admissions and discharge system, medical records, ambulatory appointment system, 6-bed trauma bay for wound care and fractures, community triage teams, some capacity for patient transport, beginnings of sanitation with port-a-pots finally arriving and medical waste and sharps disposal. We continue to struggle for beds, linens, crutches, flys, lack of misquito nets, human waste disposal and basic hygiene like toothpaste, soap, and shampoo.

From a medical standpoint the nature of the injuries — fractured legs, very large wounds, bone infections, kidney failure from crush, paralysis, dead limbs, and amputations — makes for long-term complicated problems.

My biggest frustration and anger lies in the entrenched backward and uncaring health system that permeates the hospital despite the fact that it is destroyed. It’s a real feat that it is running, and this only through the force of several external personalities. As these people leave I fear for the patients and know the volunteers will walk away frustrated.

The bigger picture remains far from over. There are hundreds of thousand homeless people living in squalid improvised camps throughout the city and region. Dysentery is picking up, and we saw the first cases of hepatitis A today. A cholera outbreak is easily feasible and would be devastating. How on earth the cleanup will commence and even come close to succeeding remains a mystery to me.

I’ve hit my wall, fatigued, with muscle and back pain. Chronic dehydration. Now with mouth sores. I have no more socks, underwear, or food. I guess it’s time to go home. It’s been an incredible experience. I’ll be back to see how this turns out.