Jamaica Hospital relief volunteers welcomed home after Puerto Rico trip

By Naeisha Rose

Volunteers who spent two weeks doing medical relief work in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria destroyed most of the island’s hospitals will receive a warm welcome Friday at Jamaica Hospital’s private dining room, according to the medical center.

There were 18 medical professionals from Jamaica Hospital and two from Flushing Hospital Medical Center who volunteered to be deployed Oct. 24, a spokeswoman said. Both hospitals are part of the MediSys Health Network, which was the first Queens-based hospital system to send staff to the island.

The members of the team were mostly bi-lingual employees and consisted of physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, emergency medical technicians, paramedics and administrators, according to Jamaica Hospital.

Medisys collaborated with Greater New York Hospital Association, the Hospital Association of New York, and the state Department of Health, according to the spokeswoman.

The island’s health-care facilities were compromised because of the damage to Puerto Rico’s infrastructure, so the staff went to deliver urgent medical care and supplement staffing for the ongoing Disaster Medical Assistance Team and provide assistance to the Federal Medical Shelters in San Juan and Manati, Jamaica Hospital said.

Pop-up clinics and door-to-door medical service were also provided to residents living on the fringes of Aguada and the team also supported members of the United States Naval Ship Comfort.

“It has always been our mission to provide relief to those in need,” said Bruce Flanz, president & CEO of MediSys. “We believe our experience in responding to disasters and exporting our talents where they can be utilized is something that we are proud to do and will continue to offer whenever it is needed.”

MediSys has previously provided disaster relief after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Northern Country Ice Storms in 1998, the World Trade Center Attacks in 2011, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Medisys is the not-for-profit parent organization of both hospitals, according to the health network.

The ceremony will begin at 12:30 p.m..

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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