PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The involvement of LDS Church members and volunteer medical personnel came full circle in the case of the diagnosis and treatment of a Port-au-Prince man injured in the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Haitian church members had brought the man to a makeshift clinic at the Centrale Ward chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There, volunteer doctors and nurses from the church's team of Americans sent to Haiti on a humanitarian mission this week made their diagnosis: The man was suffering from compartment syndrome in his leg; a compound fracture was cutting off the arterial blood supply, resulting in painful swelling and pressure.
If not treated immediately, the leg eventually would become infected with gangrene from the dying muscles and ultimately need to be amputated.
The team of LDS volunteer doctors at the Centrale Ward chapel recommended the man seek immediate attention at the nearby Sacred Heart Central Hospital, where another handful of the church's medical team also were working.
The man was driven in a church vehicle to the hospital and operated on by LDS doctors and nurses there, where they performed a fasciotomy, in which incisions are made to relieve the swelling and pressure.
"It was continuity all the way through," Matt Rawlins, an LDS doctor from Spokane, Wash., said of the effort to help the man.
The operation was deemed a success, the man was allowed to return home later that night — quite earlier than a typical stay in a U.S. hospital. But care, personnel and space at the hospital are at a premium and were needed for more severe injuries and operations.