NewYork-Presbyterian Deploys Second Disaster Response Team to Assist in Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Efforts

Oct 24, 2017

New York

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As part of the hospital’s ongoing commitment to provide medical aid to Puerto Rico, NewYork-Presbyterian is deploying a second Disaster Response Team to the island today, October 24. The team is part of a group of 78 healthcare professionals from the New York area, who are part of the deployment being coordinated by the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA).

NewYork-Presbyterian’s 14-member team is comprised of four physicians, two physician assistants, seven nurses, and one liaison who will coordinate between the medical teams on the ground, GNYHA and the Healthcare Association of New York State, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the State of New York, and the Puerto Rico Department of Health. The team has expertise in a range of different specialties, including emergency medicine, disaster medicine, wilderness medicine and pediatric care.

“You cannot be any more qualified than this team is – it’s a top level team,” said Dr. Cam Patterson, senior vice president and chief operating officer of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “The work that they are doing is so important, and we are so proud of the commitment that they are making.”

“The conditions remain dire, and we are needed in Puerto Rico,” said Jeff Bokser, vice president, Safety, Security and Emergency Services at NewYork-Presbyterian. “This is the best team that NewYork-Presbyterian has to offer to go make a difference in Puerto Rico, and we are providing this team with what they need to be successful on this mission.”

The first NewYork-Presbyterian Disaster Response Team deployed on October 12 and will return on Thursday, October 26. Team 1 has been treating more than 200 patients per day at a federal medical shelter in Manati, Puerto Rico. The team has seen a variety of conditions, from dehydration and scorpion bites to respiratory distress and febrile gastroenteritis. Officials from the Department of Safety, Security and Emergency Services at NewYork-Presbyterian have been receiving regular updates from the team on the ground.

Dr. Pia Daniel, an assistant attending physician at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Team 2 lead, has been in contact with Dr. Chris Tedeschi of Team 1 to set expectations and make a potential hand-off as smooth as possible. Team 2 hopes to continue the work that Team 1 started at the federal medical shelter in Manati, but their location won’t be confirmed until they arrive in San Juan.

“They’re going to let us know where we’ll be deployed to, but it will probably be running some sort of urgent care fast-track ER, essentially between our teams, really manning it ourselves,” said Dr. Daniel. “We’ve got a ton of supplies we’re bringing with us that NewYork-Presbyterian has supplied us with, and we’ll connect with them down there and figure out where they need us.” 

NewYork-Presbyterian has donated $1 million to New York Healthcare’s Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fund, and a trustee on the hospital’s board donated an additional $1 million. Established by GNYHA and the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), the fund will assist hospitals, health care workers and their families in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands affected by the recent hurricanes. In addition, medical supplies and emergency items have been donated by NewYork-Presbyterian’s generous employees and patients at donation bins across the hospital campuses.

For more information on the team’s efforts, click here. Follow along with #NYPResponds for regular updates.

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