The Haiti Earthquake: The Provision of Wound Care for Mass Casualties Utilizing Negative-Pressure Wound Therapy


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Abstract

Many months after the devastating earthquake in January 2010, wounds remain a major disease burden in Haiti. Since January 2010, through the efforts of corporations, nonprofit charitable organizations, and medical professionals, advanced wound care techniques, including negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT), have been introduced into the wound care regimens of various hospitals in Haiti. In June 2010, the authors completed their second volunteer trip at a Haitian hospital specializing in orthopedic wounds. The medical team was composed of a plastic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, anesthesiologist, medical assistant, scrub technician, and registered nurse (specializing in plastic surgery and orthopedics). The authors' team supplied NPWT devices, reticulated open-cell foam dressings, and canisters donated by Kinetic Concepts, Inc, San Antonio, Texas, for use at the hospital. This report describes the medical challenges in postearthquake Haiti (including limb salvage and infection), benefits of adjunctive use of NPWT/reticulated open-cell foam, and current wound care status in a Haitian orthopedic hospital. The future role of NPWT in Haiti and during mass catastrophe in a least-developed country is also discussed.

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