Yitshak Kreiss, MD, MHA, MPA; Ofer Merin, MD; Kobi Peleg, PhD, MPH; Gad Levy, MD; Shlomo Vinker, MD; Ram Sagi, MD; Avi Abargel, MD, MHA; Carmi Bartal, MD, MPH; Guy Lin, MD; Ariel Bar, MD, MHA; Elhanan Bar-On, MD; Mitchell J. Schwaber, MD, MSc; Nachman Ash, MD, MS
Kreiss Y, Merin O, Peleg K, Levy G, Vinker S, Sagi R, et al. Early Disaster Response in Haiti: The Israeli Field Hospital Experience. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:45-48. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-1-201007060-00253
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(1):45-48.
The earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010 caused an estimated 230Â 000 deaths and injured approximately 250Â 000 people. The Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps Field Hospital was fully operational on site only 89 hours after the earthquake struck and was capable of providing sophisticated medical care. During the 10 days the hospital was operational, its staff treated 1111 patients, hospitalized 737 patients, and performed 244 operations on 203 patients. The field hospital also served as a referral center for medical teams from other countries that were deployed in the surrounding areas.
The key factor that enabled rapid response during the early phase of the disaster from a distance of 6000 miles was a well-prepared and trained medical unit maintained on continuous alert. The prompt deployment of advanced-capability field hospitals is essential in disaster relief, especially in countries with minimal medical infrastructure. The changing medical requirements of people in an earthquake zone dictate that field hospitals be designed to operate with maximum flexibility and versatility regarding triage, staff positioning, treatment priorities, and hospitalization policies. Early coordination with local administrative bodies is indispensable.
Appendix Table 1.
The hospital was divided into 7 major divisions: medicine, surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, ambulatory outpatient clinic, and an auxiliary services unit. The surgical division was also responsible for staffing the triage point. The pediatric division included a neonatal intensive care unit, and the obstetrics and gynecology division operated a labor room that also functioned as an obstetric operating room. ED = emergency department.
Appendix Table 2.
Appendix Table 3.
Appendix Table 4.
The graph demonstrates the gradual change in case mix over time. Care of trauma patients made up most of the hospital activity in the early days, whereas the percentage of nontrauma patients gradually increased over time.
Dates and times shown are according to Haitian time. The first patient was admitted 89 hours after the earthquake.
The tents on the periphery of the setup were used as accommodations for members of the mission. ICU = intensive care unit; Lab = laboratory; OB and GYN = obstetrics and gynecology; OR = operating room.
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