Medical care for typhoon victims

November 20, 2013

by Dr. Lance Plyler, Chief Medical Officer of the Samaritan's Purse Disaster Assistance Response Team in the Philippines

A 10-person medical team of doctors, nurses, and a biomedical technician is in the Philippines with Samaritan’s Purse caring for typhoon victims. As the team prepares to set up a mobile field hospital, members are assisting the staff of the storm-damaged Schistosomiasis Control & Research Hospital in Palo, a few miles south of Tacloban City. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lance Plyler, recently sent this report:

We had our first day where our medical team worked with the staff of the hospital. We are partnering with the staff to help them get back on their feet and provide medical care to the community. We were extremely well received. There were smiles on the faces of both teams.

What we are seeing is typical of what you would find in a refugee camp, including acute respiratory illnesses, diarrhea, and dysentery.

Right now, the hospital is not functioning at full capacity.

The top floor of the hospital was totally decimated by the typhoon. We have condensed all of the inpatient and outpatient services to the bottom floor. They are very excited about us bringing in our mobile field hospital. We expect to dedicate at least one of our tents to outpatient care, so that the hospital can expand its inpatient services.

The hospital grounds were in absolute shambles and disarray, but a hired work crew of 10 nationals cleaned up all the debris and the campus has been transformed. We now have ample space for the two or three tents that we anticipate setting up for our mobile field hospital.

I was helping the crew clean up the hospital grounds when I picked up a pane of broken glass. Stuck to it on a 3x5 card was a Bible verse that said,

“Be content with what you have for He has said, ‘I will never fail you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

You know, sometimes you get a little epiphany or confirmation from God and you just know that you are in the right place doing the right thing. This was it. That Bible verse definitely validated our efforts here.