Trek Medics International is dedicated to reducing the global burden of premature death and disability in vulnerable communities through the development of prehospital and emergency care services.
As EMS leaders from Boston continue to examine the events and response efforts, the valuable lessons of coordination and rapid deployment can be applied in any community, and are especially important where complex emergencies comparable in both scale and severity to the Boston marathon are increasingly commonplace.
Matt Gamache is a paramedic in San Diego, CA, and is leading Trek Medics’ efforts in Baja California, México. In this post he describes some of the logistical challenges Tijuana paramedics face in densely populated, low-income communities.
One Sunday afternoon, driving back to Port-au-Prince on Boulevard Harry Truman, I came up on a scene that’s not completely uncommon: a young teenager had been thrown from the back of a Tap-Tap, Haiti’s iconic transport vehicle. His head had absorbed the majority of the fall’s impact, resulting in a 3-inch gash gash that started at the back of his skull, and ended just above his right ear. His crisp white shirt was almost totally soaked in blood and two Good Samaritans had …
FROM HAITI TO NEW HAVEN
Several Trek Medics’ volunteers were working at different places along Sandy’s path, and we’ve collected their experiences here to share, providing some inspiring stories of how communities were brought together through the selfless acts of committed volunteers.
“Most of the calls took place in the streets. Sometimes we went into houses, but not too often, because we were often called to lower-income neighborhoods where the houses were built very close to one another. We were always guaranteed at least one auto-vs-pedestrian call per shift. I remember the vehicles always fled. One time we actually had a guy who had treadmarks across his chest. He was unconscious, but still alive, and we brought him from one hospital to another…”
For the past two years, the ÉCRU Aquin program has focused on building a reliable network of layperson first responders who are spread equally throughout the community, including both the village center and the secluded coastal hamlets, and representing a total population of close to 60,000. Using a long-term plan developed by the Haitian Ministry of Health, HRDF, Project HOPE, and Trek Medics, the program platform has put an emphasis on key capacity building components.