During a seven-day mission trip to Puerto Rico, a 6- member mission team touched the lives of hundreds. Led by Lake County physician, Gretchen San Miguel, MD, the team included Carla Haack, MD, Ricardo Vasquez-Duarte, MD, Penny Agenbroad, RN, and SWAT team tactical operators, Pablo Rivera and Robert Sellers from the Lake County Sheriffs Office. Private air transportation was provided by John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan Law Offices and Florida Hospital Waterman contributed supplies and medicines to be used as part of the mission trip.
While in Puerto Rico, the mission team had one main objective: provide medical relief to the most rural and remote areas of the island where aid had not yet been received. The mission team brought over 2,000 pounds of donated supplies with them and worked side by side with local and military authorities to reach those in urgent need of medical attention. The team was often required to wait while roadways were cleared or had to hike the mountainous terrain to remote towns and leave their vehicles behind.
The total devastation was heart-breaking to witness, said Gretchen San Miguel, MD, and mission trip team leader. We were able to treat a lot of diabetics who had been without insulin for an extended time and found that most people, including the children, were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The mission team treated 124 patients their first day on the island at a shelter set up for those made homeless by Hurricane Maria. With the aid of a military escort, they hiked to homes in the mountains and provided x-rays, ultrasounds and two to three weeks of food and medical supplies to each town. Most of the patients were treated in their homes by knocking door to door or at community centers and church clinics where crowds would gather as word spread of their arrival.
Thanks to the generous donations, we were able to treat over 400 patients in Puerto Rico, says San Miguel. We actually had a surplus of supplies and were able to donate them to the U.S. Military convoy that was flying helicopters and repelling into the remotest parts of the island to provide medical treatments.
This recent mission trip was one of many supported by Florida Hospital Waterman to help assist in the rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria.
It is important for us to not only look at our mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ internally, within the hospital walls and in the community, but also anywhere that we can make an impact, said Abel Biri, President and Chief Executive Officer, Florida Hospital Waterman.