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7.3M blow!!!

7.3M blow!!!

May 12th was a superfine day in the beginning. The physiotherapy section was being vacated of patients to run normal physio services. The reception area had already been cleared. We had dismantled one tent. Project Cure shipment had arrived and we were planning on inventory management and supply system and also thinking about setting up new OR tables and anaesthesia machine from the Project Cure shipment. Direct relief supplies through Medshare had arrived the evening before. Things were going according to our plans.

14 surgeries were planned and we had four or five for the next day. We were thinking of resuming normal OR services to our waiting list of orthopaedic patients. Four surgeries were finished when at around 12:45pm this huge quake rumbled for 30 seconds+ and all hell broke loose. This was a 7.3 M quake.

The whole hospital shook violently. Patients attendents and medics and paramedics scrambled out. The OR team including Op Walk Team also made a hurried exit after finishing their case. Dr. Kailash and his team had just made an incision to fix a humerus shaft fracture with plate and screws, when the earthquake struck. The team not- so- coolly stayed put and finished the surgery, closed the skin and came out with the patient. This was a very heroic demonstration of how our staff are dealing to take care of the patients they are responsible for.

Out side in the compound, we all had a very tough time organizing and regrouping and arranging all the patients who had streamed out with their attendants bringing out the beds from all the wards. Soon all patients were out. We had 146 inpatients then. Soon we had a quick and steady stream of newly injured patients who joined this chaotic commotion. Paramedics and doctors were scrambling to care for the patients. Splints and IV drips and analgesics and dressings were done. No X-rays were possible. Soon we had 50 registered patients of earthquake injuries in the compound. They were all given primary care and put up in makeshift tarpaulin tents. One new UNICEF tent was assembled and put up in one adjacent compound. The outside grounds also housed some forty inpatients under makeshift tarpaulin sheets hung over them. The hospital compound had tarpaulin sheets hung over the beds and mattresses of the patients. It took around eight hours to organize and regroup these patients. Duty doctors were arranged for the night. Nurses were arranged for the night. Post-operative patients were all located and medicines were prepared and given to them. Early dinner was given to all old and new patients.

People are scared and are now again living outside under some or no protection. We are hearing 43 are dead in Nepal and some 16 are dead in Northern India. Namchey Bazaar below Mount Everest was also reported to have been badly affected. Some villages East of Kathmandu, in and around the Everest region seem to have been destroyed. Kathmandu Valley itself had new buildings many areas. Many have been reported dead. People scrambled to get news of their near and dear ones. All hospitals were having trouble managing patients. Nine quakes occurred in rapid succession in two to three hours. In the evening more followed.

At 2:13 am a big jolt woke me up and a second one around 3:10 am made me write this. I am getting mails from my known and unknown friends for help from Nepal and abroad. We were sleeping on the first floor with our doors open to run for cover any time.

Today’s plan is again to do surgeries on the first floor in the emergency GIVEN there are no further quakes. We are desperately looking for a Field OR/tent OR which we believe should eliminate any fear of injury to the physician or patient even if a big quake were to come in the middle of things.

Like Dr. Anil said earlier, we are again back to day one and two. People are again frightened and we have to fight back to gain the same spirit of ‘can do’ attitude to overcome this second wave of disaster. Thank God nobody in the hospital is injured and we have not heard of any personal tragedies so far.

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