Michiana ER doctor discusses Haiti medical conditions - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Michiana ER doctor discusses Haiti medical conditions

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By Ed Greenberger

Medically speaking, the situation in Haiti is an absolute nightmare.

The doctors and nurses who are there are dealing with some of the worst medical conditions imaginable. Fox 28 spoke on Wednesday with Dr. Tom Sweeney, an emergency room physician at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Sweeney has been following the Haiti situation closely. He said it's difficult to fathom what doctors are going through there.

"They have nothing," said Dr. Sweeney. "So now you're faced with a mass casualty situation with no supplies. So physicians have a real tough time. First you've got to find a place in which to operate in. Not just 'operations' operations, but just a safe and contained area so you don't have to be worried about being overrun by a mob to get whatever supplies they want. So it's a security issue. Then, just being able to do things."

Dr. Sweeney said the conditions in Haiti are making it nearly impossible for doctors to even think about saving damaged limbs. As a result, they're having to amputate limbs on patient after patient.

"There's no supplies to do a limb salvage," he said. "That takes so much time and there's no resources, time or physicians to do that. So the only way to survive is keep these people alive with amputations."

With its the lack of steady government, infrastructure and money, Dr. Sweeney said Haiti is just about the worst place on the planet for something like this to happen.

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