As our group of Project HOPE disaster response volunteers wraps up several weeks in Nepal, we've been reflecting back on our wonderful patients and the Nepali medical professionals who we've been able to partner with to treat them. Most of this work has happened at the Manmohan Memorial Teaching Hospital, though volunteers have also spent several days at the Hope Heritage Senior Center and Israel's IDF Medical Corps Field Hospital.
Two of our Massachusetts General Hospital volunteers had an additional opportunity to help a Nepali area in need, but this time well outside of Kathmandu. Dr. Paul Biddinger and Nurse Practitioner Lindsey Martin joined a 25 member team in the Dolakha district near the epicenter of the April 25th earthquake, a 6-8 hour drive from the city. This mission to establish a two-day medical field clinic was coordinated by the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and included staff from multiple countries. In two days the field clinic saw 436 patients, many of whom walked a long distance to see one of their doctors, nurses, or midwives. Though most of the patients were only treated for primary care complaints and not earthquake-related injuries, Lindsey reported that just being there and displaying international support during a time of need was very important for the region's post-earthquake recovery. “I cannot overstate that our presence was the best medicine.
At the Manmohan Memorial Hospital, HOPE volunteers assisted with surgeries in the Operating Room, wound dressing changes in the Orthopedic Surgical Ward, critical care in the Intensive Care Unit, emergency care in the Emergency Room, and administrative coordination with Dr. Shrestha, the Hospital Director. Overall, during the time period that HOPE volunteers were at Manmohan, the hospital saw 851 outpatient visits, 46 operations, 152 ER visits, and 83 inpatient admissions. HOPE volunteers helped care for many of these patients and got to know several of them very well. Patients and volunteers exchanged stories about their families and homes, shared pictures of their children, and grew close despite the trauma and tragedy that drew them together. It was difficult saying goodbye, but we all knew that the Nepali are a strong and determined people who will recover and rebuild. We look forward to visiting their country again during a happier and more prosperous time.
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