As we expected, our first day at Hospital Mario Caterino Rivas (HMCR) was very busy and very different from our previous two days. HMCR is the largest public hospital in San Pedro Sula, as well as the northern part of Honduras. It serves the poorest of Honduras. The staff shared that most of the babies have been born to very young mothers who have not received prenatal care.
The NICU is a tertiary center, with babies being transferred from all over the country. Today the patient census was 72 babies, with 23 in minimal care, 17 in the most critical area, either on ventilators or positive pressure oxygen. The rest of the babies are on different levels of oxygen support, treatments for infections or have other congenital anomalies. The smallest baby in the unit today was born at 26 weeks gestation.
The other interesting difference is that babies who are transferred to HMCR are housed and cared for in a totally separate unit in a separate building. This unit does not have as large of a census but is very small and very cramped for space. Working conditions are tough.
Just as we found at Hospital Leonardo Martinez, there is not enough nursing staff or equipment. Today there were two babies in need of ventilator support and there wasn’t one available. Nurses had to manually compress air into the babies lungs to provide respiratory support. Imagine the emotional toll that takes on the staff.
Our amazing team jumped right in, observing patient care methods, listening to patient histories, answering questions from the nurses and providing support. Every moment was filled with the sharing of information. This nursing staff is extremely busy, so our staff taught in every moment that became available. Those nurses who had attended the workshop on Monday, were jumping right in to teach their co-workers.
The NICU nurses are hungry for more knowledge, more support, and the confidence that the care they give is the best. They want these little ones to have the best start in life, with the fewest number of complications possible. We pray that this new partnership will help provide all of this. We have already talked about the next steps and next trips. Your prayers and support go a long way. Continue to pray as we move into our last day of teaching.