HUP sends medical team to Haiti, receives Haitian patients in Phila.

A medical team from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania arrived in Haiti on Monday to assist the nonprofit organization Partners in Health with surgical procedures, according to Garry Scheib, HUP chief operating officer.

The nine-person team is led by anesthesiologist Michael Ashburn and consists of two orthopedic trauma surgeons, two anesthesiologists and five critical-care nurses. They plan to work at the nonprofit’s hospital in Cange, a small village on Haiti’s Central Plateau, for seven to 11 days.

The team visited a temporary surgical ward in a church yesterday, where about 55 patients with injuries ranging from open fractures to spinal cord injuries are currently being housed, according to an e-mail written by Ashburn from Haiti. About half of the patients are children.

“So far every single Haitian person we’ve met, whether patient or staff, has lost at least one family member in the earthquake,” Ashburn wrote.

The team plans to work on 10 to 15 cases Wednesday, ranging from wound dressing changes to orthopedic and general surgery.

Because transportation is still being hindered by earthquake damage, the team brought over 1,200 pounds of medical equipment with them. They traveled on a plane donated to Partners in Health by Keystone Foods, based in Haverford, Pa.

According to Scheib, the trip was coordinated by Rick Shannon, the chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Health System, who has previously worked with PIH in Haiti.

In addition, HUP was also the first hospital in the U.S. to receive Haitian patients after the earthquake. It admitted three patients on Jan. 17 for surgical procedures to treat crush injuries.

“They are all doing very well, and I anticipate that they will be discharged in the near future,” Scheib said.

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