Dialysis Nurses Volunteer for Puerto Rico Relief Effort
Three weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, Fresenius Kidney Care is flying dialysis nurses to relieve staff and help patients at the company's 27 operational dialysis centers.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which left Puerto Rico in ruins, nearly 100 Fresenius Kidney Care dialysis nurses have volunteered to relieve staff and help care for patients at 27 of the 28 dialysis centers that the company operates on the island of 3.4 million American citizens. Fresenius Kidney Care is scheduled to transport the first 12 nurses to Puerto Rico by passenger plane on October 22.
Much of Puerto Rico is still without electricity and fresh water remains scarce after the hurricane made shambles of the island 3 weeks ago. Nineteen of the 27 operational centers are relying on diesel generators for electricity, and eight centers have municipal electricity available, said Bob Loeper, Head of the Disaster Response Team at Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA). One center was completely destroyed by the hurricane.
The centers are staffed by more than 1000 employees and provide dialysis care to approximately 4000 patients.
A major problem in Puerto Rico is a shortage of gas and diesel fuel. FMCNA rented gas truck and purchased pods and placed them around that island at six strategic locations so staff could get gas to go back and forth to work, Loeper related. “If we don't take care of our staff, then we can't take care of our patients,” he said.
According to Federal Emergency Management Agency, power will not be restored to the entire island for about six months.