On January 12 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. The region had suffered an estimated 316,000 fatalities with approximately 300,000 injured and more than 1 million people who lost their houses. Following the quake, the Israeli Defense Force Medical Corps dispatched a field hospital unit to the capital city, Port au Prince. The hospital had a pediatric division which included pediatric emergency department, pediatric ward and neonatal unit. We elaborate on the various aspects of pediatric treatment that was provided by our hospital. A total of 363 pediatric patients (younger than 18 years) were admitted to our facility during its 10 days of operation. Out of this total, 272 pediatric patients were treated by the pediatric division, 79 (29%) were hospitalized and 57 (21%) required surgery. The pediatric team included seven pediatricians, one pediatric surgeon and six registered nurses. An electronic record and a hard copy file were created for each patient. Fifty-seven percent of the children presented with direct earthquake related injuries. Twelve patients required resuscitation and stabilization and three patients had died. The majority of injuries were orthopedic while infectious diseases accounted for most of the general pediatric diagnoses. In conclusion, operating a field hospital for a population affected by natural disaster is a complex mission. However, pediatric care has its own unique, challenging characteristics.
- Disaster medicine
- Field hospital
- Pediatric emergency department