Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Worst Tragedy I Have Ever Seen...

Today was by far, one of the worst experiences I have ever been a part of...the day started as normal as some of us were finishing up breakfast and getting ready for devo at 7:30am and then off to our clinic at 8am. During breakfast we were talking with a guy named Chuck, who just arrived...he is a training manager for SP and had just spent the day before with David, the main security guy for SP, at an all day disaster training. So as we were hearing about all the different scenarios that they endured during the training, David got a phone call- he said "there has been an accident, come with me now". We ran around frantically trying to figure out what supplies we could even bring with us and then we got in the truck and left...I was wondering this whole time where the accident could be and how far we would have to drive to get to it. Well, we didn't have to go very far... as soon as we pulled out of the SP driveway, it was right there.

I found out tonight that 2 tap-taps ( that is their main mode of transportation in which a TON of people pile in or even on top) were speeding and one was trying to pass the other and then they ran into another truck head on. When we arrived on the scene, there were bodies everywhere, many bleeding, some dead. We just tried to find the most critical patients and take care of them with our very limited supplies...we didn't even have gauze!! The first guy I cam upon was bleeding from his head and I pulled off his hat and he had 2 HUGE lacerations on top of his head. So I tried to apply some sort of make-shift pressure dressing. I knew that he had to get to the hospital because he was losing a lot of blood. There was a lady at his feet that was already dead. I was thankful for Marc-Elie, one of my interpreters, who was in the middle of everything and doing whatever we needed him to do.

We got some people loaded up into the back of pick-up trucks (yes, no back boards, no neck collars, nothing)...we had 3 people in ours. These poor people had lacerations, back problems, etc and they had to lay in the back of a truck and travel some of the most horrible roads ever. At one point, my guy who had the head lacerations was actively bleeding more so I have to lean out the back window and apply pressure to his head. When we arrived at the hospital we had to unload several cars of people...we ended up transporting around 24 people. One guy that I helped unload was in really bad shape-he ended up have a genital laceration, his left lower leg was barely hanging on-bone and flesh sticking out, peeing blood, coughing up blood- we kept pumping him with fluids and frustrated because we knew he needed to go to the OR.

After we left him, one of my fellow teammates was helping a little girl that she miraculously found in the weeds...she was probably 2 or 3 and had a broken leg, bleeding internally, crushed chest wall. Kelly, my teammate, was suctioning blood out of her nose too. Thankfully, they finally decided to take her to the OR...this was great but if she went, then I knew that the other guy who desperately needed it was going to have to wait even longer. So I picked up this precious little girl and carried her to the OR...and then we left, hoping and praying that these people would survive. Unfortunately, we found out later in the day that both of these people had died. I can only hope and pray that the little girl felt the arms of Jesus getting ready to welcome her home as I carried her to the OR.

When we got back to the compound, SP pretty much canceled most things and we had a time of debriefing where each individual went around and expressed what they experienced and how they felt. It was so needed and I was so thankful that SP was so intentional with that.

This has been emotionally draining on the whole compound and especially on the nurses...its hard to feel like you did anything effective or worthwhile but we have been reminded that we did all we could with what we had. And when things like this happen here, there is usually not such a quick response. It was God's grace that it happened right outside our compound and we had vehicles available to transport people. And the amazing staff of SP came out amidst the chaos and jumped into help, despite not having medical training.

I must trust in God's sovereignty in all of this and know that He is still in control...and continue to focus on the many graces throughout this experience and how He literally carried us through.

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corin. 1:3-7)


  1. I have tears running down my face. Prayers headed your way! What an awful accident! :(

  2. Praying for you Lisa! I'm so sorry to hear all of this...it just breaks my heart to think there is so little that can be done medically down there. Love you friend...grace and strength in Christ our Lord!

  3. I really have no words - I have tears in my eyes just trying to imagine what this was like, and how those people were suffering. Praying for you, friend...