January 6, 2005

"Small wounds have been left so long they end up being big wounds."

From the NYT, terrible stories of the medical needs of the tsunami survivors:
"To some extent a process of natural selection has occurred," Dr. Shumack said. "People with no treatment at all are already dead."...

The seawater that swamped the city consisted of a foul mixture of sanitation waste, garbage and debris. Many of those who did not drown were cut by flying bits of trees, wood and metal. Even for the injured who managed to scrounge a few dabs of antiseptic and a bandage at chaotic camps, wounds have become seriously infected, in many cases septic.

"A couple of drops of this putrid water gives these people rip-roaring pneumonia and lacerations that get horrendously infected," Dr. Shumack said. "The septicemia is incredible. The surgical cases have become more complicated because the infections are becoming more spectacular."...

At this point, for many, the only hope is amputation, and the doctors are struggling and running out of amputation saws.

No comments: