Week after Haiti earthquake, medical needs still overwhelming
Haiti's medical needs a week after the earthquake are overwhelming -- even with the presence of the USNS Comfort and the influx of doctors from the United States and other countries. As I note in this audio interview, to treat serious burn patients, who require months of medical attention, the Comfort has made arrangements with a stateside hospital for continuing care. But the hospital ship also has had to turn away some patients -- those with serious brain injuries, for example -- who would take up a disproportionate amount of medical resources. That will allow the ship to focus on other patients who can be treated and released.
That very difficult issue lands at the Comfort because it is the most advanced hospital in Haiti. The ship's medical operations director told me that putting three hospital ships side by side in Port-au-Prince harbor wouldn't be enough to solve the problem. I think you could drop Shock Trauma and all of Hopkins hospital here and they would be still be overwhelmed.