Friday, May 1, 2015

MGH team deploys to Nepal

DEVASTATING DESTRUCTION: Everest Base Camp patient evacuation

On April 25, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal – the country’s worst in more than 80 years. As the death toll continues to rise to more than 5,000, an additional 9,000 people have been injured, and there are thousands more without homes. The earthquake is a major catastrophe to the Nepalese people, as well as the country’s infrastructure as a whole.

Despite the nearly 8,000 miles between Boston and Nepal, the earthquake has been felt here at the MGH, both personally and professionally. Two MGH physicians – Renee Salas, MD, and Lara Phillips, MD, both fellows in the MGH Wilderness Medicine Fellowship in the Department of Emergency Medicine – were working in Nepal at the time of the earthquake. They are both safe and have been working with Nepalese colleagues to provide lifesaving emergency care in rural areas hard hit by the earthquake. (Read a first-hand account from Salas)

“When enormous tragedies such as this strike, we as a global medical community are impacted regardless of the physical distance between us and the affected area,” says Hilarie Cranmer, MD, MPH, director of Global Disaster Response in the MGH Center for Global Health. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families and our colleagues who are valiantly working to assist in relief efforts.”

Cranmer adds, “Additionally, many within the MGH community are eager to help. We have just received a request for specifically skilled staff from International Medical Corps, with whom we have worked with in the past following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the Ebola response in West Africa.”

A damaged home in Pheriche, Nepal

In response to this request, a team of seven MGH physicians and nurses will be deployed to Nepal. Led by Miriam Aschkenasy, MD, deputy director, Global Disaster Response at the MGH Center for Global Health, the other team members are: Bijay Acharya, MD; Grace Deveney, RN; Annekathryn Goodman, MD; Kevin Murphy, RN; Jacquelyn Nally, RN; and Sheila Preece, NP. More staff members may be deployed in the future.

Those who would like to donate funds can do so through the MGH Emergency Response Fund, managed by the MGH Development Office. For additional updates on the situation in Nepal, visit

Read more articles from the 05/01/15 Hotline issue.

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