Tag Archives: Nepal earthquake medical assessment

from CCNEPal about Joe Niemczura, post-earthquake April 26th, 2015

For readers of this blog, you know that it has not been active during this year that I am teaching critical care nursing skills in Nepal.

I am actively blogging on CCNEPal page, go there to read what I have to say.

For the record, I was in Bhairawaha Nepal on the day of the quake. In Bhairawaha, I noticed something odd at 11:56: the water in the glass was sloshing back and forth all by itself. I immediately got up, alerted the other people nearby that it was an earthquake, and we all left the building.

Here, nothing was damaged. not only that, but it was mild enough that things stayed on the shelves and tables. I spent much of the day (it was my day off) answering emails and messages to re-assure my friends that I was safe.  I am fine. I am not personally inconvenienced in any way.

I am on my long-planned “Road Trip” – fifteen sessions of my course outside the Kathmandu Valley. Five have been completed and ten remain. I am teaching today.

I would point out that CCNEPal, my organization, has trained 1,775 nurses and docs in Life Support skills, and about 800 are in Kathmandu. For that reason, I suppose you could say that CCNEPal has “pre-positioned” for this event (though I would not wish this on anybody). I am 100% certain that the Nepalese people will be helping each other, it is something I have always admired about this beautiful country. There is ample capacity to shift medical personnel from within the country, and I am sure that such a move will be easier than to bring in people from outside.  For those who wish to help, I guess the first thing is – send money to aid organization of your choice. (not to me!)

In general, I think it’s too early for nurses and doctors to come here unless they speak fluent Nepali and already know about the hospital system (most hospitals are intact). I do not think the needs will be quite the same as they were directly after Haiti, for example. Logistically, a self-contained team would be good.

From reading about other disasters in other parts of the world, I think that the early period will focus on recovery of victims. The time when foreign nurses can help will be down the road, when disaster fatigue sets in, and also to “backfill”  basic health services in unaffected areas where the Nepali nurses have and doctors have been shifted to Kathmandu.

We will all learn more as the full extent of damage is revealed in coming days.

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