note from baratunde: in order to get this to you as soon as possible,
I have not corrected any typos

From: Anil Menon
Date: Saturday, January 16, 2010 4:16pm ET
Subject: iPhone note from travel - "typed with two fat thumbs"


I've now been en route to Haiti in some fashion for almost 4 days.  It
is four days since the earthquake.  Now in my wilderness fellowship in
emergency medicine I don't make many faculty meetings, but I did go to
the monthly meeting this wednesday, I had just given a talk on
wilderness survival so I felt like I should go.  It was then that that
bob Norris expressed his need for volunteers to go with intrnational
medical corps.  I was quick to answer,  the few pictures I saw were
heart breaking and I went into medicine to be of service.  The next
month I was s heduled to complete a tour of duty with the air national
guard at kingsley field.  The commAnd of the 173rd fighter wing made
it easy for me to move this tour back and contribute my time.

This same global consciuosness and good will shown by my unit became
apparent as more Stanford doctors and nurses volunteered.  From
wellwishes on facebook, to emails and calls, it has made a diffiult
journey much easier. Stanford donated 20 thousand dollars of
medications, residents and pharmasists and hospital staff from every
sector packed materials and we were ready to go almost immediately.
In fact,  I don't know of few people who would not have gone.
Unfortunatley even a small team like ours has been struggling to get
there, provide needed medical care.

Though vie de creole, a hotel in Haiti, has served as a make shift
hospital since the incident, there is no secure space to place a team,
support structure to harness our skills, and no gauranteed transport
into the country.  Our possible wed/Thursday departure became Friday.
We did make it to Santa Domingo and waited for the call to piggy back
on a military transport to port au prince.

In the mean time I used my Spanish to cope with the lighting fast
domincan accent to purchase more supplies.  Casting materials, cotton
rolls, a bone saw for amputation, pedialyte, antibiotics, suture
material, antiseptic for reusing our disposable tools,
needles,syringes, and the elusive pain meds.  Surely there is a lot of
pain there but ketamine and morphine are difficult to get a hold of
locally (we did bring some).

The call came for us to leave.  As I got packed we learned that only 7
of our 8 could go.  Having spent a year alone in India I volunteered
to stay back and go at the next opportunity.  As much as I wanted to
see the city of Santa Domingo or at least a cafe that sold good arroz
con frijoles I quickly fell asleep.  That didn't last long, my team
was turned back, so they called.  I started texting them from the
room, they thought they still might make it, then they were returning
to get everything and take me for a later hour.  I'm waiting for them
now.  I've flown with the marines before in Afghanistan and they are
organiezed and efficient but it's sometime a function of tight space

I'm more aprehesive of this trip than Afghanistan.  There I was alway
protected by the hope that our soldiers would not get hurt, here the
bodies are already stAcked in the street.  Though danger was
unpredictable in Afghanistan for a doctor there was also a relief in
working with trained soldiers.  Dr Norris is a tough guy but we are
banking on our benign nature and good intent to serve as a stron
shield from the chaos.

This wouldn't be possible without the outpouring of support from
everyone.  I hope it continues to sustain us an I really wish we could
maintain it beyond our memory of this diaster.

Anil S Menon

Sent from iPhone


Anil Menon, MD is a clinical instructor at Stanford School of Medicine focused on surgery and emergency medicine. His research interests are Aerospace Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Wilderness Medicine. He graduated from Stanford Med in 2006, received a degree in mechanical engineering in 2003 and became a full ER doctor in 2009. He has practiced medicin in combat in Afghanistan and will be practicing aerospace medicine next year at NASA. He's part of a team sent to Haiti by Stanford.

This entire series is chronicled under the HaitiDrDispatch tag