Saturday 20 January 2018

'It was crazy. The hospital was overrun' - Irishman Johnny does all he can to help huge numbers of injured after Nepal horror


Johnny Moore working in Bir Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal
Johnny Moore working in Bir Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal

AN Irishman who has volunteered to work in Nepal's national trauma centre since Saturday's devastating earthquake has done "everything from haircuts to helping with X-rays" to help ease the suffering.

Johnny Moore (24), who works with Sr Cyril Mooney, a Loreto nun from Bray based in Calcutta, was on holiday in Kathmandu when the 7.8 magnitude quake struck.

He volunteered straight away, but admitted he was shocked as Bir Hospital struggled, and ultimately failed, to cope with the huge number of casualties, often with life-threatening crush injuries.

"I was here on Sunday. At that stage we were expecting another major aftershock, and relatives of extremely-ill patients were trying to push them out of wards on trolleys and into the park next door for safety - and there was no staff to stop them," he said.

"It was crazy. The hospital was overrun."

READ MORE: 'I saw an American climber standing over the dead body of his girlfriend'

Johnny, whose parents are from Kerry, raised concerns about some patients being asked to pay for treatments such as IV drips, even in emergency situations. The Nepalese government has denied this happens.

Among those getting treatment yesterday was Sabita Nepal, a five-year-old pulled from the rubble of her hometown on Sunday morning.

Sindhupalchowk, about a three-hour drive northeast of the capital, is almost completely inaccessible by road following the quake.

It took two days before a helicopter could be commandeered to take her to hospital.

She has a broken pelvis and wrist and a suspected epidural haematoma and may need surgery.

The nationwide death toll from the earthquake has risen to 5,057, the home ministry confirmed yesterday.


Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said that the toll could yet reach 10,000, with the increase likely to be predominantly from those difficult-to-reach areas.

Helicopters - not a common commodity in Nepal - are also needed for the ongoing series of rescues of climbers from the lower reaches of Mount Everest after 18 died there in the aftermath of the quake.

Among those rescued from base camp was Dublin climber Paul Greenan, while the number of Irish citizens still classed as "missing" has fallen from more than a dozen to only one.

There are still major concerns for the safety of Thomas Drumm (55), from Monaghan.

"As time goes on we're getting anxious," his cousin David told RTE yesterday.

"I had exchanged emails with him on Wednesday and was expecting further communication from him but have heard nothing.

"Thomas is an intelligent guy, he knows the world.

"If he is among the devastation and he is okay, he would be chipping in and helping out."

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