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Medical News & Perspectives
August 21, 2018

Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico: A Physician Looks Back at the Storm

JAMA. 2018;320(7):629-630. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.8244

Myriam Allende-Vigo, MD, is an endocrinologist in private practice in Humacao, Puerto Rico, and governor of the Puerto Rico chapter of the American College of Physicians. In June, as the island headed into the 2018 hurricane season, Allende-Vigo spoke with JAMA about caring for patients during and after last year’s devastating storm. The following is Allende-Vigo’s account of the storm and its aftermath.

Hurricane Maria hit the island on September 20, 2017. Humacao was badly hit. The storm wiped out a lot of houses and buildings, and there was a large flood in the coastal area. The whole town was without power and telecommunications. The main problem was having no power—no electricity, no light, no refrigeration, no ice, nothing. A lot of telecommunications were dependent on the electric power, so that’s why the telephone lines and cell phones went down. Many people didn’t have power to pump running water.

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