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The day after the second blow

The day after the second blow

Wednesday May 13th was a very long day for us. Long faces for the surgeons and the people who were getting things done. We all looked tired and beat. The reason was fear. Everyone around us had that fear of the unknown. When was the next big one going to come? This feeling was openly seen in the already traumatized patients of NOH. Neither the patients nor their attendants and near and dear ones were ready to go and sleep inside the hospital. Structurally the building is sound. It withstood two bad jolts and many hundreds of small ones in the last three weeks. 

We planned surgery from Thursday on wards. The surgery would take place again in the emergency where we can set up two tables. Six have been planned. The assessment of pre-operative patients has been done. There seems to be not too many left. Around 20 people need surgery. The rest can be treated conservatively. Thus there is absolutely no need for hurry. There are no life or limb threatening conditions.

The majority of patients who had been admitted after the May 12th quake was because of injuries related to jumping out of buildings or stumbling and falling. They had ankle fractures, calcaneal fractures and some did come with long bone fractures of the lower limbs.

We received 50 pairs of crutches from Helping Hand USA for the patients. We received some supplies from Australian students through the Rotary Club of Yala. We requested for a HUGE tent to house our patients who were scattered all over the premises of NOH and Nepal Disabled Association in different tents and sheds made of tarpaulin. 

Monsoon is nearing. Fear of rain.

We were planning for a Field OR where surgeries could be done without fear of danger to the patients or the treating physicians. The whole day all patients were again accounted, and the various tents were named ward ‘A,B,C...’ etc. The doctors made assessments again and started routine treatment and isolated those needing more care, those needing dressings and those that needed conservative care versus surgical intervention. 

New patients were seen, mostly earthquake injuries and follow-ups from previous surgeries. X-rays and lab tests were done of patients that had come the previous day during the May 12th quake.

It took a long time to set up the big tent given by WFP. A Canadian army crew also came to set up tents. We discussed with them on how best to set up their patients. We wanted a Field OR sort of tent. They will be arriving on May 14th to set up their tents.

NOH is planning to keep the tents running. We want a place for the patients who fear going home for some time. We want the tents as a reserve for any unforeseen event that might bring in more patients. We are thinking of housing the patients in the tents until all folks are psychologically prepared to go in. This might take a few days. Meanwhile, the hospital will be cleaned. Our beds have broken down because of frequent push ins and push outs during the previous days when the hospital was shaken by mighty jolts.

Hopefully, these aftershocks will fade. Some experts are warning this was a new quake in a new fault line and we need to be prepared for bigger hits. So people are not confident. Huge numbers are leaving Kathmandu. People are again sleeping under the tents.

80 earthquake victims were seen and 76 regular patients were seen on Tuesday when the big quake occurred. Till then 188 patients had undergone surgical intervention and some 220 plus surgeries were conducted. More than 150 are living under the tents with their immediate family members now.

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