Volunteers Continue Caring for Cholera Patients at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer
Six Project HOPE nurses arrived this week in Deschapelles, Haiti to continue work in the cholera ward at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. Haiti is experiencing a surge in cholera cases due to water contamination after the devastating earthquake last February.
The Project HOPE nurses got right to work after a brief orientation to the hospital and cholera protocols. For the next three weeks, they will be working 24/7, providing much needed help to overworked Haitian professionals. At least two nurses will be on the ward at all times to start and monitor IVs and make sure that these desperately Ill patients get the oral rehydration fluids they need in order to fight this disease. Cholera patients require massive amounts of fluids and electrolytes because of the losses from diarrhea and vomiting. When they arrive at the hospital, they are evaluated for disease severity and assigned to one of four treatment protocols. Protocol 4 patients require up to seven liters of fluid in the first three hours of treatment. Challenges encountered by the nurses include putting IVs in severely dehydrated patients, working at night without adequate lighting, language barriers (translators are not always available), and of course keeping themselves hydrated in the hot climate.
None of this seems to matter, as all are enthusiastic, hardworking, and just grateful for the opportunity to help the people of Haiti.
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