In the aftermath of Nepal's earthquake, there has been extensive damage and a slow recovery process. More than 8,500 people died. There has been widespread damage that adds to some shakier infrastructure to being with. And important cultural and religious sites have been destroyed. (An interesting (albeit sad) before / after look a Nepal's cultural sites can be found here.)
As with any disaster, getting people medical care when more than half a million homes have been obliterated can be almost impossible. Médecins Sans Frontières, though, is always one of the first on the scene to help treat people.
In this case, as with several recent disasters, they're doing things a little differently than what you might imagine: they are using an inflatable hospital tent. Developed in 2005, the tent is easier to clean, climate control, and keep sanitary than more traditional tents. And it is able to be deployed all at once, with a "kit" of supplies to accompany it, leaving less to chance and logistics in dicey scenarios.
In thinking about how the inflatable tent is being used to save lives, these are 3 medical collaboration lessons we thought might be useful to you, in less challenging -- but equally important -- contexts:
- Surgery is about more than just surgery.
As the author points out, a successful operation depends on clean surroundings, reliable lighting, good supports, and a full medical team to make it possible. The focus on the structure itself is a great reminder that, as healthcare providers, we depend on a whole system (including adminstrators, facilities managers, insurance, etc.) to make good medicine possible.
- It takes a team.
One detail in this story caught our attention: it takes 10 people to move the inflatable tent hospital from the plane to a truck and then off of the truck to the intended site. For one surgery to happen, then, involved a team of medical professionals, but also a team of people to make that medical care possible. Good medicine through healthcare collaboration takes all of us.
- Healthcare providers are heroes.
All too frequently, medical providers can start to feel the signs of burnout, as they are expected to do more with less, with less appreciation than ever before. When we hear about medical providers doing work in the most extreme of conditions, we're reminded about the crucial importance of their work, no matter where they are working.
To learn more about how telemedicine can support many different contexts -- including disasters -- click below: