Yesterday, we received four Colombian civilians injured by an IED (improvised explosive device). The patients were flown from 35 miles away to the USNS Comfort for urgent care immediately following the incident. One of the patients, a 21-year-old man, went directly to surgery while the three other patients were treated for shrapnel wounds.
HOPE volunteer Deb Atwood provided anesthesia during the operation on the 21-year-old man to complete a double amputation on both legs and hand reconstruction.
Today, the man remained intubated in ICU. HOPE volunteer Vida Cheng was charged with the patient.
The three remaining patients were discharged today after receiving care.
The violence in Colombia hasn't been far from everyone's mind since the Continuing Promise 2011 team arrived off the coast of Tumaco, Colombia. The country's violent political history and involvement in the drug trade were topics discussed during the debriefing the night before arriving in Tumaco.
Security at the MEDCAP site, however, has been a top priority, with three military personnel for every one of the crew and supporting security around the site radius.
Yesterday's incident comes as a result of the Colombian government's move to eradicate coca (cocaine) fields throughout the country. The effort is part of a plan to target the coca crop directly by burning or spraying the fields with an eradication mixture.
The men had been hired to burn the coca crops when the 21-year-old stepped on the IED.
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