Winter 2010 Issue

Helping In Haiti
Practice Physician Provides Care In Port-Au-Prince

The Disaster Medical Assistance Team treated 170 patients per day from the neighboring refugee camp.
From February 7 to 14, practice physician Samuel Chewning, MD traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as a member of the North Carolina One Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT NC-1). The 60-member team treated patients in a field hospital made completely of tents, which included one operating room, an ICU with the only pediatric ventilator in Haiti, and an on-site digital X-ray (donated by Sean Penn). The hospital averaged 170 patients a day, with five to seven operations per day, and four patients per day in the ICU. Dr. Chewning provided operative care for wounds and fractures, as well as inpatient and outpatient wound management and fracture care. During this deployment he slept on military cots covered in mosquito netting, drank bottled water, and ate military MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat).

“It was an unbelievable experience,” said Dr. Chewning. “With such an enormous amount of destruction, it would be easy to become overwhelmed by the big picture. Our team’s goal was to heal one patient at a time. The people of Haiti are incredibly resilient, kind and trusting, and always quick to show their gratitude with a huge smile and a ‘thank you.’"

“I also felt very fortunate to belong to a practice of such depth that I was able to provide assistance in Haiti for a week and know that my patients back home would receive stellar care from my partners.”

Dr. Chewning has been involved with search and rescue/disaster medicine since 1972, working with organizations such as the American Red Cross, DMAT, and the National Cave Rescue Commission. He has deployed to multiple disasters including the Pentagon and New York after 9/11, Mississippi after hurricane Katrina, and cave rescues in North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and New York.

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