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Groundwork!!!

The Field OR has been very busy. All surgeries are being done there for the moment. We plan to keep it running for at least a week. The patients seem to be all comfortable despite living under tarps or inside a tent. Food is being served by the hospital twice a day and they also get additional food in between given by various individuals or organizations. I have just come back after distributing a blanket and a night gown to each inpatient. The patients will be able to keep that with them when they are discharged. This was donated by a cloth merchant from Karnataka, India.

This morning as I write we have 134 inpatients. Total admission yesterday was 8 and total discharge was 12. We have planned 10 surgeries today. Dr. Patricia from Spain and one US orthopaedic trauma surgeon, Dr. Miguel Daccaret from University of Nebraska have also joined us today.

Till yesterday (May 17th 2015), we have operated on 221 patients (250 surgical procedures) and 1665 earthquake victims were seen in total. Previously operated earthquake patients have come for follow-up. Sutures have been removed and physiotherapy started on these patients. ‘Normal’ OPD patients are being seen at the same time also. We are having difficulty in serving our regular patients. We can only start normal services once we bring down the bed occupancy to the 70-75% level, which will take some time. Currently we are exceeding 130%. One time it had exceeded 200%.

Physiotherapy services and dressing services and nursing services are working overtime to meet demands. Slowly we aim to go back to normal services. Hopefully no further big jolts will stop us from doing what we aim for.

Yesterday, I took a stroll along the inner streets of Patan, my home town and I was horrified to see that the last aftershock six days ago did more damage than the initial one. It was looking almost normal in Patan a week ago! I could see hundreds of houses being supported by long wooden struts in all the alleyways. You cannot walk into the alleys without fear of being crushed any moment by these cracked houses (some with bellies bursting, some with sides bulging and some simply tilting), which could fall to the ground any moment. I think this is only a tip of the iceberg. All old towns of the valley must be experiencing this problem. People are in big trouble. The sheer scale of rebuilding is mind boggling. I am talking about only the new victims.

Hope there are no further big jolts.

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