Medical Help Taken Offshore
Because of War Zone
With neighborhoods degenerating into a war
the US Navy's hospital ship, the Comfort, started Wednesday treating patients
off the coast of what was once Haiti's thriving capital city.
Commander Tim Donahue, head of surgery on the ship, said that that medical staff
had just treated a young boy who had burns on 30 per cent of his body.
The boy, along with a 20-year-old man suffering from a spinal fracture and
bleeding in the brain,
were transported to the ship even before it reached Port-au-Prince and was
formally ready to accept patients,
The Baltimore Sun reported. "We have been
waiting, ready to assist. It just happened a little earlier than we expected,"
Donahue was quoted as saying.
"But that's OK. We are ready." Donahue told CNN that the ship has the capacity
for 1,000 patients.
"We are ramping up to receive folks," he said. The ship will provide
resuscitative care, stabilize patients, and then pass them on to other off-ship
facilities, he said.
There were six operating rooms running, and the ship could double that number if
need be. On Thursday, 250 more medical staff were to arrive from the US, he
said. In addition to the estimated 200,000 killed in last week's earthquake, a
Doctors Without Borders official has estimated there are half a million injured.
Medical experts fear that many people will die for lack of follow up medical
care for infections, broken limbs, and other problems.