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Doctors in Puerto Rico Practice Medicine In ‘Post-Apocalyptic’ Conditions

Mac Slavo
October 18th, 2017
SHTFplan.com
Comments (27)
Read by 4,837 people
 (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Nearly four weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, doctors are experiencing “post-apocalyptic” conditions. The reality doctors in Puerto Rico are facing is similar to that from a dystopian novel.

Doctors are conducting surgical procedures in sweltering 95-degree heat, experience malfunctioning X-ray machines, and have seen medications literally melting. “We’re practicing disaster medicine in real life,” said Dr. William Kotler, a senior resident in emergency medicine at Florida Hospital in Orlando, who spent two weeks volunteering on the island earlier this month. “We improvise if we have to, with very little resources.”

Arriving one week after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Dr. Kotler and four other emergency physicians from Florida Hospital in Orlando, finished up a volunteer mission on the devastated island. They were the first medical relief team the hospital sent to the island. “We went in blind,” said Dr. Julian Trivino, who was among the first team of volunteers.

A second team arrived on October 8th and will stay for two weeks to assist those who need medical attention. When the physicians arrived in the town of Aguadilla on the northwestern tip of the island, the local hospital was in bad shape. The hurricane had almost completely taken down the entire electrical grid and knocked out communications. “I got there and immediately had a patient with serious head injuries from a car accident,” said Trivino, who is the chief resident in emergency medicine.

Access to electricity was so poor that Trivino couldn’t conduct a CT scan, but he was able to do an X-ray. To review the films, he had to go outside and hold the films up to the sunlight to see anything. Afterward, he used one of the team’s two satellite phones to arrange for the patient to go to a trauma center.

Dr. Trivino must use sunlight to examine x-rays since electricity is sporadic in Puerto Rico.

Dr. Trivino must use sunlight to examine x-rays since electricity is sporadic in Puerto Rico.

 

The physicians are also becoming increasingly concerned that Puerto Rico could be headed toward a full-blown health crisis. “Trauma centers are overwhelmed. Basic surgeries are being postponed. I’ve seen people lose digits because they couldn’t be treated in time,” said Kotler.

And the heat is making conditions even more extreme. At a hospital in Carolina on the northeastern coast, Kotler and Trivino had to perform an emergency surgery; attaching a temporary pacemaker to a patient whose heart rate was abnormally slow. “It was 95 degrees in this ER room. She was sweating profusely and vomiting,” said Kotler. “I held her hand and stroked her head. It’s what I could do to comfort her.”

But there were also several patients who suffered the ultimate fate. In Aguadilla, it was a 42-year-old man in cardiac arrest. “He had a fever of 107 degrees. It was burning hot in the hospital. We scrambled to find ice packs to cool him down,” said Kotler. Nonetheless, he died the next day. “If you have a major heart attack in Puerto Rico, right now, the odds are stacked against you,” said Trivino.

It isn’t just the sweltering heat that’s causing a post-apocalyptic medical crisis either. A lack of clean drinking water is compounding the problems. In one town, the medical team encountered an orphanage where children were on the verge of dehydration. The physicians flew in pallets of fresh drinking water to save the kids’ lives. Because of the lack of water,  Dr. Raul Hernandez, an internist based in San Juan, is bracing for an outbreak and possibly several deaths from waterborne diseases. He said Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease spread through the urine of infected animals such as rodents, is becoming a growing concern. Due to a lack of safe drinking water, people are drinking from whatever water sources they can find just to survive, he said. If that water contains urine from an infected rat, the disease will spread, he said. So far, at least two deaths have been attributed to Leptospirosis in Puerto Rico.

Dr. Miguel Acevedo led the second team of emergency physicians from Florida Hospital. “They say it could take six to nine months for power to be restored fully in Puerto Rico. No hospital can plan to survive on generators for that long,” he said. What doctors are dealing with in Puerto Rico is a “Mad Max kind of situation,” said Acevedo. “The reality here is post-apocalyptic,” he said. “You can’t understand the seriousness of it unless you see it.”

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Author: Mac Slavo
Views: Read by 4,837 people
Date: October 18th, 2017
Website: www.SHTFplan.com

Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to www.shtfplan.com. Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

27 Comments...

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Lifestyles of the Rich and Brain Dead in Madagascar. They thought only dirty, poor peeps got the plague.

  2. buttcrackofdoom says:

    a change in zip-codes might be in order.

    • john stiner says:

      They are not smart enough to know their zip code.

    • Rattlerjake says:

      Changing zip codes only means they will transplant their third world attitude to another location. The US has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars trying to fix a problem that can NOT be fixed with money! ‘Ricans are no different than blacks and mexican’ts, they do not have the ability to manage a society because they have no concept of responsibility! We need to stop financing their irresponsibility and allow nature to manage their existence!

  3. Come-On-People says:

    It is so damn painfully obvious that this damn pig, greedy nation is NOT at all able to handle a true emergency situation. My God, if we get nuked, we might as well swallow our own gun, instead of suffering like a damn dog! It is really disgraceful. Very disappointing folks…take a good, long look around.

  4. Heartless says:

    I seem to recall the medical ship ‘Comfort’ (or maybe ‘Mercy’) was offshore. Seems crucial and complicated surgeries could be performed aboard her.

  5. so many people commenting on the sweltering heat.

    if you’ve never been in that situation, it’s goddamned near unbearable.

    move. stop popping out kids by the dozen. stop smoking & drinking for a few months, save the $ money and MOVE.

    perpetual lazy dumbasses. no sympathy

    • laura ann says:

      GRX: agree, these losers need to move, ditto for Haiti folks and other people from islands that get slammed/flooded often. All they care about is breeding like roaches, drinking rum, etc. and don’t want to advance to a better life.

  6. Yohan Smythe III says:

    Should have sent Hawkeye and Trapper John there. They worked in those kind of conditions all the time.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I feel very sorry for the people of PR. However I blame the government of PR for the current condition of PR. The government is totally corrupt.

  8. buttcrackofdoom says:

    you know what my kids always responded with when i told them i walked 20 miles to school in the snow every day, uphill…..”why didn’t you MOVE?”

  9. TEST says:

    … meanwhile, the US Senate refuses to pass a CHEAP bill to protect us from EMP (House has passed it)

  10. Jim in Va. says:

    Its a rough situation. Maybe they will straighten out their island and prepare better next time. Learn from it,government can’t bail you out all the time.

  11. k9base says:

    ?was this before or after the storm

  12. Press 9 for English says:

    Cut them loose.

  13. Press 9 for English says:

    Notice that’s not a US flag he’s holding either.

  14. the blame-e says:

    So what? The Puerto Rican people did this to themselves. They freely sat back and elected a corrupt and evil professional political class. These professional politicians then did what they always do, make a career out of robbing the country blind, and bleeding the treasury white. Puerto Rico was already stripped clean even before the hurricane came. And now the children are crying for their mother. Let the people die. The same fate awaits the American people.

  15. grandee says:

    “A lack of clean drinking water is compounding the problems.”

    be sure to have a LifeStraw.

    cheep, easy to use, life saver.

    Learn from this preppers. Like Venezuela, it’s a teaching moment.

  16. Christian Gains says:

    Max, I lived in Puerto Rico for 5 years, (in the 70’s), and LOVED IT! BUT!

    I admit that the last 3 years, there were changes taking place in the Cultural norms…there were a LOT MORE “Nuevoricans”,”Neuvoricaneyos”, {Food stamp dependents}, flooding down from New York, and kind of “infecting” the GP, into being more “GOVERNMENT DEPENDENT” & MUCH LESS self-reliant than EVER before…

    FRANKLY, I’m convinced that a LOT of the problems are due to a lazy attitude that began in those last years, and simply got worse.

    As with ALL “Socialist Systems”, the more the Gov. GIVES out the “FREEBEES”, the less anyone wants to work…

    Trust me, the PROBLEM with the distribution of goods, and electricity, are NOT FULLY the result of the Hurricane, but rather, the Corruption! AND!

    The criminality that I heard about while I lived in Miami, during the Eighties…Unfortunately, I fear that P.R. is reaping what they’ve sown…such as that “witch” Mayor, who held back the Trucks, to placate the Union bosses…etc.

    I have a hard time believing ANYthing those Politicians say…even while I was living there, the Pols were a SERIOUS problem…but, NOTHING like San Juan’s Mayor!!???

  17. Greylock says:

    I am totally underwhelmed when I hear people whining about 98 degree temperatures.

    I grew up near Houston, Texas and we never had A/C until I was about 14 years old. 98 degrees was considered hot, but really hot started above 100 degrees.Temperatures in the high nineties are common during at least two months of the year, if not more.

    When it was hot, you wore light clothes and took a lot of showers.
    It wasn’t fun, especially when the temperature didn’t drop below the mid to high 80’s even at night, but we got by.

    You adjusted your body to the temperatures you cannot change. The people who live in PR are probably adjusted…..the volunteers are not. But they seem to be able to whine copiously.

    As for the rest, PR was a disaster area prior to the hurricane. All the hurricane did was expose the extent of the rot and neglect and corruption.

  18. Anonymous says:

    MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

  19. Plan twice, prep once says:

    The US government moved a state of the art floating hospital with 300 beds to Puerto Rico. In the first week it was treating over a hundred people a day, many of whom walked or were carried by family to the ship.

    For the last couple weeks, less than a dozen beds are currently being used because the PR government bureaucrats can’t figure out how to utilize it, and integrate it with local hospitals, so they simply aren’t. They may also want to create the appearance of a Trump political failure. There is also the money factor, a patient transferred to the ship by area hospitals will be treated for free on the ship. If hospitals treat them, they get paid even if they kill the patient because they are using compromised or damaged or dirty equipment.

    The ship is fully equipped to do the most complex surgeries, it has a full staff of doctors and nurses, and has state of the art X-ray, cat scan etc all of which is going totally underutilized.

    In the SHTF we are on our own. The government can have exactly what you need five miles down the road, but the other hand of the government will have that road blockaded.

  20. Sam W. says:

    Is aid to Puerto Rico being “slow tracked” so MONSANTO can aquire more land there for GMO development????!!!
    The island will become a giant GMO facility if MONSANTO gets their way!

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