Friday, October 21, 2016

Hurricane Matthew: MGH responds

GLOBAL RESPONSE: Williams and Joseph before departing for Haiti

“It looked like a war zone,” says Lynn Black, MD, MGH internist, about Les Anglais, a town in the southern peninsula of Haiti, following Hurricane Matthew. Black traveled with the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation and was dropped by helicopter, spending eight days touring a variety of medical facilities throughout the region to assess and report out to relief organizations and the military about response efforts. “Les Anglais was completely isolated. All roads were closed. There was absolutely no access. We were the first people they had seen five days after the hurricane. They had no clean water, no food, no shelter.”

The powerful storm that hit earlier this month cut a wide swath of destruction through the Caribbean and parts of the United States, leaving more than 1.3 million people in need of assistance in all forms. The hurricane was especially devastating for Haiti, with estimated deaths on the island nation climbing above 1,000. The storm left many more without the basic needs of shelter, food, water and medical care for injuries and illnesses such as cholera.

Black was one of five MGH staffers who were part of relief efforts in Haiti. Naima Joseph, MD, OB/GYN, and Joy Williams, NP, Radiology, deployed with International Medical Corps; and Maya Ginns, NP, Internal Medical Associates, and Lindsey Martin, NP, SICU, joined a Project Hope team.

In addition, 10 staff members were dispatched as part of the federal DMAT MA-1 (Disaster Medical Assistance Team for Massachusetts) to provide assistance to areas hardest hit in the United States. The DMAT team comprises: Lisa Anahory, RN, ED; Paul Biddinger, MD CDM/ED; Ellen Blanch, RN, SICU; Allison Curtis, RN, SICU; Robert Droste, RN, Burn ICU; David Mather, CDM; Craig Nally, PA, ED; Jacky Nally, RN, CDM; Eileen Searle, RN, MGH Institute; and Monica Staples, RN, CDM/ED.

“The consequences will be far-flung,” said Hilarie H. Cranmer, MD, director of Disaster Response, MGH Center for Global Health. “It’s important to remember we need to help people recover from this event now, but also in the days, weeks and months to come.” 

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