Hard times call for creative solutions: Medical improvisations at the Israel Defense Forces field hospital in Haiti

Guy Lin, MD, Haim Lavon, MD, Reuven Gelfond, RN, BA, Avi Abargel, MD, MHA, Ofer Merin, MD


Mass disaster medicine is characterized by the need to manage limited resources that are far inadequate to meet the population’s demands. Under these hectic conditions, lack of specific medical equipment is expected and requires improvisation using available items.
We describe the innovative use of medical improvisations at the Israel Defense Forces field hospital, working in the earthquake zone, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on January 2010.
Creative solutions were found to several problems in a variety of medical fields: blood transfusion, debridement and coverage of complex wounds, self-production of orthopedic hardware, surgical exposure, and managing maxillofacial injuries.
We hope that the methods described will help to inspire medical teams working in disaster regions.


improvisations, field hospital, Haiti, earthquake

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajdm.2010.0023


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