Saturday, January 30, 2010

In medical parlance it’s called “revising”

In medical parlance it’s called “revising” – adjusting--and hopefully improving—an original treatment. Two and one-half weeks after the earthquake there is a spike in the number of revisions in clinics and hospitals in the Haitian capital as medical practitioners work in calm conditions to smooth out or repair procedures undertaken in the chaotic first hours and days following the quake, sometimes by people with little or no medical experience.

Perhaps the most unusual cases was a woman who came into an International Medical Corps mobile clinic during the past few days, with a severe head laceration bound together with her hair hair wrapped into a knot at the time and sealed with Super Glue.

“A perfect solution in emergency conditions,” said Emilie Calvello, who teaches Austere Medicine at Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine. The revision included cleaning and stitching the laceration closed—and removal of the Super Glue.

A middle-aged man at the same clinic underwent a revision procedure to remove an inch square chuck of concrete that was sown up into his scalp on the first night after the quake.

Work is also required to revise what one physician called guillotine amputations--where the leg is taken just above the ankle rather than below the knee--because it is faster and easier to perform. Often more of leg must be taken in order to facilitate cleaner healing.

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