Doc PJ from Haiti: Survived another night in the ER.
Dr. Craig Perrinjaquet, known as Doc PJ, is a Breckenridge physician currently providing medical services in Port-au-Prince, Haiti following that country’s devastating earthquake in January. The following blog entry, dated April 19, was sent to Breckenridge Town Councilmember and Summit Daily News columnist Jeffrey Bergeron:
Soon after my shift started there was a loud explosion outside the entrance. It sent people running and screaming in every direction, including me. Luckily it turned out to be a truck tire blew, but I’m still a bit edgy after seeing so many gun shot wounds over the past 10 days here.
Hard to know if the number of shootings, stabbings, car wrecks, intoxications, etc. are similar to other big city ER’s since I’ve never worked in one in the US or if the stress of having 85% of Port au Prince’s population living in tents, greater than 100 degree heat, very high unemployment rates and very few public services on top of years of oppressive poverty have pushed people over the top.
The International Medical Corps that I’m volunteering with has been given responsibility for running the University Hospital Emergency Room, pediatric clinics, ICU and TB ward. We receive transfers from all over the city and outlying field clinics run my Doctors Without Borders and several other organizations. Yesterday we had 2 transfers to the ER from the morgue. Quite startling as you can imagine to have two guys dropped off in body bags like a bad parody of a Monty Python skit. Both were alive. One had been dropped off at the morgue by family or possibly just passersby and left for dead startling the heck out of the morgue workers when he started to have convulsions and groan. The other was actually found on the ground outside the morgue, skinny, totally naked and unconscious, but breathing. The second was just left on an open metal gurney a body bag half thrown over him and a note stating “found outside morgue vomiting green liquid”. Not good. As of this morning when I finished the night shift both guys, nicknamed the Lazarus Brothers, were awake and smiling even if they were still pretty confused, as we were, about what had happened to them.
They have become quite the curiosity around the hospital as rumors of two real zombies returning from the dead passed through the Haitian neighborhoods where Voodoo is as normal as Methodism is in Breckenridge. I felt a bit like a zombie myself this morning at the end of a 14 hour shift. No patients with gun shot wounds or babies delivered, but I put in dozens of sutures in a 1/2 dozen people who were in a car wreck, 2 guys came in with strokes, and I reduced a dislocated jaw when someone yawned too wide. I’ll be rested up by tomorrow when I switch back to day shift and start over again.
LIFE is Bliss,
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