NEW YORK NURSE: January/February 2010
by Mark Genovese
As this edition went to press, the island nation of Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake and aftershocks, leaving its healthcare resources severely damaged. NYSNA conveys its deepest sympathies to those who have suffered losses as a result of the quake and has joined the effort to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild.
Currently, the most effective means of support is monetary donations that will directly supply material needs. A comprehensive list of organizations accepting donations is available at www.nysna.org. The list is being updated daily.
NYSNA’s website also offers information on deployment opportunities for healthcare personnel. There is an urgent need for volunteer nurses; all specialty areas of practice are being sought. Information on volunteer deployment is filtered from requests received by the American Nurses Association (ANA). NYSNA is asking all New York-based RNs to consider registering with ServNY (https://apps.nyhealth.gov/vms/appmanager/vms/public), New York’s registry for healthcare and mental health professionals.
NYSNA’s online coverage of the Haitian disaster features a link to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report from former NYSNA board member Sister Mary Finnick, director of Matthew 25 House, a local charity in Haiti. Matthew 25 was also featured in an NBC Today Show report from chief medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The organization is providing treatment for many injured outside of the major metropolitan areas.
In her messages to the newspaper, Sr. Mary describes the damage and her group’s efforts to heal the injured:
“…We are all OK physically at the house. We were home when it hit. The downstairs part of the house stood up well; there does not appear to be any serious structural damage. But, there has been some considerable damage upstairs. Matthew 25 cooked up four big pots of soup for the people coming for treatment, and we served as a triage and treatment center. We were able to climb over the fallen bookcases and shelves and retrieve a lot of meds and supplies we had in our depot.
…We used everything I had as I triaged along with three MD’s and our guests. Vivian and Pat had the important job of getting to our supplies as that whole area is under debris; making pots of soup etc. We finally cut up pillow cases for bandages. I think planes are flying out today but I haven’t heard from the folks who are in the country and supposed to return to Port-au-Prince. Our electricity continues but the container holding 12 of the batteries is damaged. All the cars survived.
…We can use the soccer field out back for sleeping area and the kitchen for cooking in the back is OK. But there is a great need for medical supplies, suturing, Betadine, analgesics...everything... and personnel to bring it.”