Disaster response in a pediatric field hospital in Haiti
The University of Miami's Global Institute and Project Medishare (UMPM), an organization with a presence in Haiti since 1993, arrived within 24 hours. The Miami Children's Hospital (MCH) administration went on a fact-finding mission to the UMPM facility on January 18 and the following day committed to providing 6 weeks of pediatric support.
An institution-wide call for volunteers went out, and the medical staff office formulated 9 multidisciplinary teams sequentially deployed for 5 to 6 days. 225 nonphysician MCH employees responded including 201 registered nurses (26% of the nursing staff). Seventy-one physicians (11% of the medical staff) applied to serve. Employees took unpaid leave and traveled as Project Medishare volunteers, not as part of a formal MCH program. Of 318 volunteers, 112 (35%) ultimately served.

The first 4 teams were composed to cover multiple fields of expertise. By 6 weeks after the earthquake, physician requirements clearly shifted as the percentage of surgical patients fell. A transition to a pediatrician team leader came at about this time. More pediatricians were required, with expertise in intensive care indispensable.
  • Solidarity staffing (eg deployments to/from other jurisdictions)
  • Other
  • Housing for front-line workers
  • Medical Imaging Workers
  • Nurse Practitioners*
  • Nurse Specialists*
  • Nurses - Licensed Practical
  • Nurses - Registered
  • Pharmacy Workers
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physicians - Emergency
  • Physicians - Intensive Care
  • Physicians - Primary/Family
  • Physicians - Specialists
  • Social Workers
  • Other Health Care Workers
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti affected more than 3 million people, leaving 300,000 injured, 230,000 dead, and more than a million homeless. Hospitals in Port-au-Prince were either structurally incompetent or ill equipped to handle the necessary medical surge capacity.
  • Critical Care
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Hospitals
The medical staff office handled all logistics, including the required licensure check and transportation.
A major shortcoming in staffing was the initial omission of a pharmacist dedicated to the peds tent.
Formal Strategy
Burnweit, C., & Stylianos, S. (2011). Disaster response in a pediatric field hospital: lessons learned in Haiti. Journal of pediatric surgery, 46(6), 1131–1139.
Cathy Burnweit
Department of Pediatric Surgery, Miami Children's Hospital and FIU College of Medicine,
+1 305 662 8320
Caribbean, Central, Latin & South America
Published Literature

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