On September 20, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico was ravaged by the strongest hurricane in the modern history of the island. In partnership with MedShare and Florida Hospital, Carla Haack, MC, FACS, Assistant Professor of General and GI Surgery and Medical Director of Care Coordination at Emory University Hospital, joined a medical relief trip to the damaged island in October. During the trip, Dr. Haack and her team delivered medical care, food, water purification systems, solar lanterns and other supplies to more than 350 people. Despite the team arriving three weeks after the hurricane, their efforts were the first signs of help that many residents had seen. Upon the team’s arrival they witnessed first-hand that millions of people lacked drinking water, food, basic medications and shelter from the elements.
To this day, communication on the island remains extremely limited, making relief efforts and day-to-day life unimaginable. Seventy-five percent of hospitals, business and residents are still without power, and reports suggest that it will take several more months to restore. Most hospitals and clinics continue to lack essential medications and equipment. The death toll remains uncertain, but continues to climb due to Hepatitis A, Leptospirosis and E. coli outbreaks and a lack of basic treatments like oxygen, insulin and dialysis.
Emory’s Department of Surgery has established a fund to continue to aid in the relief efforts. The proceeds will be used directly to provide aid in patient care, clean water, food and fuel. To contribute to the fund, visit http://www.emory.edu/home/giving/index.html and click the gold “Give Now” medallion on the left side of the page. In the designation, choose “other” and include “Surgery Medical Missions – Puerto Rico” in the specific designation box. For questions about the fund or how to donate, please contact Carla Haack at email@example.com.