When disaster strikes, the first question often asked is who is going to respond. During the recent earthquake in Haiti, the answer to that question included one of the current faculty members in the Department of Critical Care Medicine and two alumni of the fellowship program. Their work was publicized in the most recent edition of Critical Connections from the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
As it turns out, critical care physicians in the Dominican Republic already had an interest in bringing the Society of Critical Care Medicine Fundamentals of Critical Care Support course to their small country. Because of this, they reached out to the Society for help. Drs. Maria Baldisseri, Randy Wax, and M.J. Reed are part of the team that responded. They quickly recognized that the sickest patients could not be managed at the makeshift facilities that had been set up in the country. Many patients were already been transferred to the Dominican Republic for care. As they toured hospitals in Santa Domingo, they found crowded hospital hallways, cancelled elective procedures, and intensivists focusing almost exclusively on earthquake victims. They then put all their efforts to bringing the FCCS course to the Dominican Republic as quickly as possible. They were able to pull this off within 3 days thanks to their efforts, as well as those of SCCM staff.
Drs. Baldiserri and Reed have returned for a second FCCS course. Their goal is to teach the physicians in the Dominican Republic to teach the course themselves and thereby expand the needed work force for handling the overload of critically ill patients.
We should applaud the incredible efforts of our colleagues to help the critical care needs following such a disaster. More information regarding the efforts of SCCM members in response to this tragedy can be found on links from the SCCM website .