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Aftershock Renews Fears For Haiti Quake Survivors

January 20, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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Jon Snow of Independent Television News looks at the ongoing relief efforts in Port-au-Prince and the suffering endured by thousands of victims fighting to survive.

JON SNOW: Security here at the General Hospital is not the issue. Amputation is. In the aftermath of today’s aftershock, many patients are still quartered in the hospital courtyard. The delay in getting them inside, anywhere, is costing limbs and lives.

You need more surgeons?

WOMAN: More orthopedic.

JON SNOW: How long will you have to wait for that factor?

WOMAN: We’re trying to open more operating rooms over here. But we don’t have any X-ray ability.

JON SNOW: What do you need?

WOMAN: X-ray.

JON SNOW: Dr. Even Lyon is here from Harvard. He’s worked here before.

DR. EVAN LYON, volunteer surgeon: We are running our operating rooms without — without electricity, without — without oxygen, without proper anesthetics. Standing in front of me, there are hundreds of people who have had compound open fractures.

JON SNOW: Do you have to just feel your way into a fracture and decide what it is?

DR. EVAN LYON: Yes. We have to. Most — to be honest, the bigger problem is infection. The bones may heal. They may not heal. We have done many, many amputations. We’re losing — people have — are losing limbs.

JON SNOW: Is gangrene a problem? Not yet?

DR. EVAN LYON: No, it’s been a problem — it’s been a problem for five days now. It sets in right away.

JON SNOW: The wards deemed safe after the earthquake are crammed with amputees, men, women, children, people for whom a life any way on the edge will be rendered ever more challenging. Amputations are carried out barely off the ward, limited anesthetic, and no painkiller. Headphones and music are her only comfort.