Medical mission helped thousands of typhoon survivors

Medical mission helped thousands of typhoon survivors

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Ohana Medical Missions took a team of about 50 doctors, nurses and medical personnel on a medical, surgical and humanitarian mission to areas in the Philippines hardest hit by Supertyphoon Haiyan. The doctoring was done in makeshift settings, under tents and in a church.

Physician Charles Sonido said there was an endless stream of suffering

"There were non-healing wounds, residual of the injuries they sustained, but a lot more respiratory tract infections," he said.

Haiyan killed thousands of Filipinos. Millions are homeless. In two weeks the team treated 6,000 people.

Doctor Romeo Perez said they worked twelve- to fourteen-hour days.

"We did a lot of surgical procedures," he said. "There's a lot of gastrointestinal problems. We also saw patients with schistosomiasis."

Sonido said chronic conditions like diabetes are still largely going untreated.

"There's no refrigeration and so no drugs were available for that kind of ailment," he said.

Perez said areas looked like the end of the world and some streets smelled like death.

"I used to work in pathology, and I can tell that these are decaying bodies," he said.

Of the ailments and injuries, most surprising was the frequency of survivors exhibiting signs of post traumatic stress disorder. The horrors of the storm are still with them.

"I talked to people. They lost uncles, close relatives, brothers, sisters," Sonido said.

The mission hired four doctors in the Philippines to distribute medications the organization will send in the coming months, so their work will continue.

"It was very challenging to me and at the same time rewarding," Perez said.

Ohana Medical Missions plans another trip there some time next year.

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