Doctor helps at Thai hospital


Refugees from a nearby fishing village, Nam Khem, which was totally wiped out, stand in line Thursday for aid at the Bang Myeng refugee camp, in Khao Lak, Thailand.

DAVID MASSEY/Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, January 15, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 14, 2005 at 11:05 p.m.
Day 3 - We drove north to Takropah hospital were the medical staff and the medical director welcomed us. During the tour we met the last patient from the tsunami still in hospital. He was about 4 or 5 years old and was recovering from a skin graft for a large avulsion on his leg. I gave him several of the cards from the children at Chiles (Elementary School) and he bowed deeply several times. This is Thai for "thanks." We gave some to his siblings, too.
Dr. Terry Flotte took the syringe pumps to the (pediatric) unit and instructed the staff on their use. We are continuing to generate a list of things we need to send here. While Terry was in the pediatric unit, the nurses and I went to ER. While touring, a man came in with a large gash in his leg. This (emergency department) is super efficient and the staff was caring for the wound and getting vitals. Within seconds he had local, by nurse, wound irrigation, by nurses. They said he was clearing debris with an elephant and was gored by his tusk. They asked if I wanted to help and I did not hesitate to jump in.
Once we were done at Takropah hospital it was clear they were back to normal operations but were seeing tsunami derivative injuries and illness. This is a phenomenon we saw after the hurricanes last fall. We left the hospital with Dr. Sudapong and went to see several refugee camps. They have put up many tent cities and they are being replaced by temporary housing. The army has been brought in to help. They are making rows of long shelters with wooden floors and corrugated metal rows. The space is 8-by-3 meters and this is for a family of four to five. They have already strung power to the sites and brought in large containers of water and long hoses to conduct to kitchens. They are clearly well organized and well along in this respect. The camp at Nam-Khem was best organized and seems to be the central hub.
We swapped supplies with World Vision folks, gave them some dermabond and steri-strips and they gave us sutures and some pediatric antibiotics.
Dr. Kevin Ferguson, an emergency room doctor in Gainesville, is the associate program director for the department of emergency medicine in the University of Florida's College of Medicine.

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