After Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, it was instantly clear that medical help was needed. And doctors from around the world responded, traveling to the Caribbean nation to volunteer their services. (Check out this video to see how the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders constructed an inflatable hospital to treat quake victims.)
But what kinds of injuries will those doctors encounter, and what kinds of medical supplies will they need to treat their patients?
They can ask researchers at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and USC’s Information Sciences Institute, who have computed a partial answer with their Pediatric Emergency Decision Support System (or PEDSS for short).
It sounds like a contraption straight out of Star Trek, but it’s a real software tool that was developed to estimate the number and type of pediatric injuries that would follow a disaster such as an earthquake. By plugging in information specific to the Haiti quake, the Los Angeles researchers estimated that more than 110,000 children there are in need of medical care.
PEDSS categorized those patients into 7 age groups (from 0-1 months up to 12-18 years) and 11 injury categories. The resulting grid was used to calculate the medicines needed to treat those pediatric patients.
According to PEDSS, doctors will need:
99,479 40-milligram vials of Solu-Medrol to treat spine injuries
265,263 doses of Mannitol at 20% concentration for patients with closed head injuries
11,108 standard doses of Tetanus toxoid to treat lacerations
165,780 half-milligram tablets of Lorazepam for children with anxiety
580,209 units of O negative blood for kids with abdominal or chest trauma
Lots and lots of morphine
You can view the full shopping list here.
-- Karen Kaplan
Photo: Doctors from the Dominican Republic examine a Haitian boy at a makeshift clinic on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince on Sunday.Credit: Brian Vander Brug/Los Angeles Times