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Dr Stephen Reaney, a GP from Northern Ireland, one of the UK's Emergency Medical Team members in Nepal | by DFID - UK Department for International Development
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Dr Stephen Reaney, a GP from Northern Ireland, one of the UK's Emergency Medical Team members in Nepal

Dr Stephen Reaney, a GP from Northern Ireland, is part of the UK's Emergency Medical Team, which was deployed to Nepal after the earthquake that struck the country on 25 April. He's been helping assess and treat people with spinal injuries in a specialist clinic just outside Kathmandu.


"I was deployed to Nepal on 26 April with the UK emergency trauma medical team as a primary care physician", says Stephen.


"When we first arrived, I was initially deployed as part of a small team up into the mountains to do some assessments in an area which previously hadn't been reached by other aid agencies.


"It then became apparent this spinal injuries facility here on the outskirts of Kathmandu needed a doctor with generalist skills who was willing to admit patients here to review them on the ward round and to help with the other three doctors to manage the patients. So I came here.


"As you can see the ward is pretty full. They have 29 more patients than usual. We’ve just had another 2 patients admitted from the teaching hospital with severe spinal injuries.


"So that's what I've been doing over the last 10 days.


"All patients I've been dealing with are earthquake victims. There are another 38 patients here who were here before the earthquake.


"Most of the injuries that I have been seeing are upper lumber spinal injuries and crush injuries with a variable degree of spinal cord injury - so unfortunately some patients are totally paralysed.


"I was deployed in a similar team in the Philippines in 2013, after Typhoon Haiyan. My role in the Philippines was to do general health and demographic assessments, and I've been doing the same here in Nepal.


"Patience is needed for the first couple of days with all the chaos of a disaster like this, and it's taken a little bit of time to find out from people on the ground where our skills are needed. It's been good though. I've learned a lot and hopefully I have been able to help the medical staff here with the very high workload that they have been dealing with.


"It’s been challenging and rewarding and hopefully I will be able to help in the future with more deployments such as this."


Picture: Russell Watkins/DFID

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Taken on May 6, 2015