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Haiti: Life And Death Decisions

A premature baby and a woman giving birth must share the only oxygen tank in a hospital in the poorest part of Haiti, Port de Paix. Dr. Jon LaPook recounts the harrowing experience.

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Hats Off To Global Rescue

I’ve posted previously about Global Rescue (GR), a company with deployable field rescue teams that can be hired to extract persons who are injured or ill from anywhere in the world.

The company provides medical consultative services, evacuation and extraction services, security advisory services, and other services such as emergency message relay, telephonic interpretation, visa and passport services and local legal referrals. I’m writing now to thank Global Rescue for helping me out in Haiti. Read more »

This post, Hats Off To Global Rescue, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Leaving Haiti: Small Child – A Triple Amputee – Offers MD A Cracker With His Remaining Hand

We found out today that we are going to ship out tomorrow. My feelings are certainly mixed. There is an incredible amount of work to be done here – we have only contributed to the first wave of what is necessary. This may sound strange, but I cannot remember the details of much of what we did the first three days, when we were functioning on hyperdrive in a battlefield setting. My recollections become detailed after the third day, when we were able to see only four or five patients at a time, and we stopped triaging amputees to the operating room.

Now the hospital has been substantially augmented. Teams of foreign (to Haiti) surgeons have left to go home, because the operations to be performed now are largely orthopedic and plastic surgery, as well as specialty cases. Sadly, there are scores of patients with spinal fractures who are paralyzed, and little can be done for them this far out from the initial injury. Children continue to break our hearts. I had a small child who is a triple amputee offer me his cracker with his remaining hand. One can only pray that the memories he carries of this tragedy are erased swiftly, that he is assisted in his rehabilitation, and that his life improves. All of these will, of course, be hard to achieve. Read more »

This post, Leaving Haiti: Small Child – A Triple Amputee – Offers MD A Cracker With His Remaining Hand, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Audio: What Is Needed Most In Haiti Now? Live Report From Hospital In Port Au Prince


Dr. Paul Auerbach And Injured Haitian Boy

Dr. Paul Auerbach is the author of the definitive textbook on Wilderness Medicine. Though he’s spent his entire emergency medicine career teaching others how to survive in the wild, even that didn’t fully prepare him for the extraordinary devastation in Haiti. He’d never seen anything like it. He hopes he never does again.

In an exclusive Skype interview with Better Health, Paul describes what it was like “on the ground” during the first week of the disaster. He goes on to explain (in part 2 below) what the current critical needs are, and which organizations and websites volunteers should go to in order to contribute in a coordinated fashion.

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Dr. Val: Do you need supplies?

Dr. Auerbach: We have lots of medications, vaccines, and small supplies. What we need most is a large autoclave to sterilize used OR equipment. Read more »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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