By The Huddle, UW Medicine
UW Department of Global Health graduate certificate program alumni, Dr. Nelson Chiu, shares his experiences in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
I was following the news about Hurricane Maria like everyone else. A few days after it hit Puerto Rico (on Sept. 20), I read an article about how terrible things were and that there was an urgent need for doctors. I applied to a few relief organizations and got a call from Project Hope, which had a slot for a primary care doctor in their mobile medical units. I landed in San Juan on Nov. 19.
Two months after Maria, the healthcare needs were less about broken bones or infections and really more about primary care. But this was typical primary care in an atypical setting. We saw cases without the benefits of a lab, X-rays or electronic records. We treated patients in a school, at a church, on a basketball court. Sometimes we went door to door. All told, we saw more than 500 patients in two weeks.