There is a lot of suffering: Australian doctors in Kathmandu

6 May 2015 9:28 PM AEST: The gravity of the medical emergency in Nepal is such that a team of Australian medical professionals that arrived in Kathmandu on May 4 began treating seriously-injured patients within an hour of their arrival.

But the Aussie doctors did not and do not have any ICU facilities to do the job. They make do with a makeshift facility where they treat patients released by local hospitals, released not because they are out of danger but because the hospitals desperately need the beds to save earthquake victims who have even more serious injuries.

“We were at work within an hour of arriving. We are staffing a clinic just inside the Kathmandu valley. The clinic is acting as a step down for patients to clear hospital beds for those more needy. The injuries are severe and there is a lot of suffering,” says Bangalow-based GP Dr Bronwyn Hudson on gofundme.com.

The Australians: Team Bangalow!
The Australians in Kathmandu: Team Bangalow!

The Facebook account of Dr Kevin Hartley from Byron Bay Hospital, another Australian on the ground, further proves how desperate the medical situation is, “Very basic in tents, limited supplies. It’s hot in the day and cold at night. Condensation & keeping things dry is a major problem as well as providing antibiotics, fluids and pain relief.”

The Australian team, made up of the two doctors and registered nurse Theresa Missiaen, is part of the Nepal earthquake relief operations coordinated by the US-based International Medical Relief.

For Dr Hudson though, the service she is providing is personal because her relationship with Nepal dates back to 2002 when she worked in Kathmandu hospitals as a medical student. Her connection with the country is so deep that she gave her eldest daughter a Nepali name, ‘Maya’ which is ‘love’ in Nepali, The Northern Star reported on May 2.

What is remarkable is the way the Australian team has prepared its stay in Nepal. The team members have taken everything they may need in the next 12 days so that they do not use the scarce resources the locals so badly need in these difficult times. So they took everything that they would need to help Nepal: tents, food and water, bedding, equipment and medicines.

And a lot of cash which is being used to pay for the life-saving surgeries many of the victims need, and they need more so that more lives could be saved.

Well guys, here's our meals for the next 12 days..
So that she does not have to use the scarce resources of Kathmandu, Nurse Theresa Missiaen fills up her trolley with a variety of dry food items : “Well guys, here’s our meals for the next 12 days…”

According to Nurse Theresa, the injuries she has seen ‘are all very serious by Australian standards’ but they are still bound to treat them in ‘a tent with limited supplies’. She says they need all the help they can get in order to help people requiring orthopaedic surgery which many locals cannot pay for because it costs USD $220, a major sum in the best of times but a fortune under the current circumstances. It is understood that the Australians have paid for some of these surgeries already but need more funds to help the critically-injured.

Dr Hudson says she is ‘heartbroken’ by the humanitarian conditions she has witnessed but the ‘resilience’ of the locals is helping her help them, “It’s hard not to feel heartbroken but by jolly the strength and resilience of these people is more than incredible and more than enough to get me moving.”

“WE NEED CASH!!,” the doctor says and promises the money will be well spent. Anyone wishing to fund the Australian life-saving activities can visit the following link to make a contribution: http://www.gofundme.com/t5ghs6x 

Nepal earthquake
Dr Hudson’s caption for this picture taken on May 5: “OUR ICU”. Nothing like the sophisticated medical facilities at Bungalow!

 

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