Indonesia Earthquake: Hospital Forced to Stop Surgeries Due to Shortages


Padang. A shortage of surgeons, medicine and electricity has forced medical staff at Dr M Djamil Hospital in earthquake-ravaged Padang to stop operating on victims.


One of the hospital’s surgeons, Fendri Akhri, said on Thursday afternoon that the hospital could not perform surgeries without electricity to power vital machines, such as those used to anesthetize patients.


The hospital had already operated on 20 patients, most of them students in Padang.


“We only have 60 surgeons. We need more,” Fendri said. “And we desperately need fuel to run the machines, but gas stations do not have enough.”


Most patients had suffered bone fractures that punctured the skin, he said, adding that medicine and supplies were needed immediately to save lives.


A surgical tent and more than 10 emergency tents have been erected outside the hospital to care for the injured.


One patient, Ike Desmayanti, or Desi, 26, a data entry employee with Suzuki Finance in Sawahan, was trapped when the company’s building collapsed. Part of her right leg had to be amputated so she could be pulled from the rubble.


Desi said she had tried to run down the stairs to escape, but got stuck at the front door.


She was found at about 10 p.m. on Wednesday by a search-and-rescue team. Her leg was trapped and the team decided to amputate. After the emergency operation, she was taken to the hospital.


At 2 a.m. on Thursday, a surgeon had to remove more of her leg, clean the wound and control the bleeding.


“I couldn’t feel anything at the time, I was numb. I couldn’t move my leg, and I didn’t know what to do,” Desi said. “I didn’t say anything when the search-and-rescue team cut my leg, I just let them do it. I rely on God, I just need to be sober,” she said. “I don’t care about my leg anymore, as long as I still have my life. And I don’t want to be pessimistic about my future. I will heal and work again.”


Desi’s family had wrapped her amputated leg in a black plastic bag and placed it under her bed in the emergency tent.


Another patient at the hospital, Basir Malin Marajo from Padang Jati, couldn’t escape his home when the quake struck. He almost reached the front door, but a wall fell on him, breaking his left leg. He said he didn’t want to be in the emergency tent anymore.


“Please move me from here. I don’t want to get wet because of the rain,” he said. “I cannot sit, because if I sit, my blood transfusion stops. But when I’m lying down like this, I can’t pee. Please move me.”


Source: The JakartaGlobe (01/10/2009)