Medical supplies heading to Puerto Rico “con amor”

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The hospitals of the Yale New Haven Health System all chipped in, donating badly needed supplies for Puerto Rico. The label on each pallet says it in English and Spanish: “From Yale for Puerto Rico with love.”

“What we did was we put out a call through our materials management area to all of our Yale New Haven Health hospitals,” explained Materials Management Director Carlos Lourenco. “Sutures, basic medical supplies, some surgical kits and that’s some the main items that they’re looking for down there right now.”

The need is immense. The devastation in Puerto Rico is hard to fathom. Much of island, including its hospitals, still do not have power.

People have been generous with donations. The trouble is transporting it all. At first United Airlines offered to fly 2,000 pounds of what Yale collected. That works out to a couple of pallets. Yale collected 15 pallets, however. Yale doctor Marietta Vazquez was at a New Haven City Hall press conference just yesterday, pleading with airlines for help. Today, United stepped up to say it will fly everything Yale has to Puerto Rico.

Dr. Vazquez says Yale is the first medical center to send supplies to Puerto Rico, and now she has a new plea.

“Medical centers across the United States can do this. Puerto Rico desperately needs medications, supplies,” Vazquez said. “I can help. I can help in terms of the logistics, how we did it.”

For now, only supplies are going. Medical personnel may follow in the weeks to come to help out Puerto Rican doctors and nurses who are pushed to exhaustion by their circumstances.

“They also have family members and homes, like my family’s homes that were flooded and they need to clean and help improve, and yet they need to take care of patients, so I think that is where the medical staff relief comes into play.”

A truck will take those 15 pallets to Newark Liberty Airport where United will now fly it all to Puerto Rico. It is a good first step, but it is one of many more they will need.

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