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Pediatric field hospital in Haiti provides lessons in disaster planning and response
Date:10/3/2010

SAN FRANCISCO When a devastating earthquake hit Haiti earlier this year, physicians and health care workers were immediately deployed to the capital, Port-au-Prince. A study on the creation and evolution of a pediatric field hospital from a disaster service facility to a full-fledged children's hospital during the weeks and months following the disaster, was presented on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco.

"Disaster Response in a Pediatric Field Hospital: Lessons Learned in Haiti," chronicles the deployment of Miami Children's Hospital staff surgeons, pediatricians, nurses, operating room personnel, physical therapists, pharmacists, X-ray technicians and social workers to a field hospital operated by the non-profit organization Project Medishare. The hospital operated for 45 days, with rotating medical teams specifically composed of specialists and caregivers to best provide the services needed.

Initially, the goals of the hospital were to staff 75 beds for admitted children, an operating room, and a wound care center where surgical management of open wounds (debridement) and dressing changes could occur with sedation.

During the first five days, 93 percent of pediatric patients were surgical specialty admissions, with 40 children undergoing operations, mostly for fractures and wounds. Simultaneously, more than 50 procedures debridement, dressing changes and castings took place in the wound center.

Two months after the disaster, however, care needs evolved dramatically.

"As time passed, the facility evolved to more closely emulate a children's hospital with 80 percent of patients requiring general pediatric and neonatal care and only 20 percent requiring admission for surgical issues," said Cathy Burnweit, MD, FAAP, lead author of the study. As the hospital developed the capacity for intensive care, newborns including those
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Contact: Susan Martin
ssmartin@aap.org
American Academy of Pediatrics
Source:Eurekalert

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