First full day here at the hospital in Haiti. I spent it following Pamela around in the ICU. She is a Canadian nurse who has been here for 2 weeks. She was so awesome. We had one patient who was in a moto accident and is still unconscious, intubated, and unresponsive 1.5 weeks after a craniotomy surgery. He didn't require a lot of care throughout the day so Pamela and I visited and joked around a lot, took breaks and chatted with the Haitian staff.
The patient's family plays a crucial role in the care of the patient. NOT in the way I expected. The family must provide food and linens for the patient. If they don't, the patient goes without, unless the hospital has extra; they often don't. All of our ICU patients had urinary catheters. When we emptied them into buckets, someone had to go yell the family's name out at the door of the unit and wait for the family member to come and take the bucket away (apparently to some unknown human waste river). They bring the bucket back to us and then go back to waiting in the courtyard of the hospital. So strange. Another thing, when the doctor orders any tests or lab work, the family has to pay for it first, then bring the nurse the receipt. Only then can the nurse draw blood or take the patient for a test. This happened to me today. Pamela and I got all the supplies out to start and IV and draw blood, but the family couldn't pay for the labs so we potentially wasted supplies by opening them too early. Crazy.