1. Salvage, Jane MSc, BA, RGN

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On the cover this month, AJN features a photograph of a nurse treating newborns in a makeshift nursery in Mianyang, in Sichuan province, China, taken on May 21. In the first week after the 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck on May 12, China Daily reported that as many as 36,000 Chinese health care workers travelled to the disaster zone in and around Chengdu, the provincial capital. By early July, according to China Daily, the death toll stood at 69,196, with more than 374,000 people injured and 5 million homeless, and the main public health challenges were to provide shelter to those still homeless and-in a recent welcome move-to give psychological support to survivors and rescue workers.

Figure. Photos court... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Photos courtesy of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center

I was on holiday in China at the time, taking a break from my work as an international nursing consultant. My family and I had travelled more than 400 miles by overnight train from Beijing to the historic town of Pingyao-nearly halfway to Chengdu. We woke from our afternoon nap on May 12 to find the ground rippling beneath our feet, the walls swaying, and the red lanterns that hung from the eaves shaking violently. Luckily, the damage to our area was minor. None of us realized how serious the earthquake was until we saw the televised reports several hours later.


When the quake struck, nurses in Chengdu were gathered to celebrate International Nurses Day. They immediately moved patients to safety, as shown in the first national television news bulletins on the quake. Nurses and physicians worked tirelessly to care for victims, sometimes without knowing whether their own families were safe.


The Chinese government-owned media has allowed extensive coverage of the earthquake and its aftermath, in contrast to its usual control of information when reporting on public health challenges. Chinese authorities, however, have disagreed with the World Health Organization (WHO) about how best to handle some aspects of the relief effort. WHO officials criticized the government's efforts to dispose of corpses, for example, saying that they don't constitute a disease threat and that the priority should be tending to survivors. But Chinese public health leaders said the WHO had failed to consider cultural taboos relating to the dead, China Daily reported.


Chinese nurses have been joined by nurses from around the world, including those from the United States, Japan, and Russia, in what will be a prolonged recovery effort. On this page are photos of Karen Karash (pink scrubs), the one nurse who went to China with a team of physicians from the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. They worked in Chengdu for 10 days on rapid stabilization of patients with severe injuries.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.