Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc across Puerto Rico, costing some people their lives and others their livelihoods. For Manuel Rivera, it cost him part of his finger, but with help from the airline he works for and a South Florida doctor, he's now on the mend.
"As I went to the door to close the other doors that connect to the other room, one of the gusts came in and slammed the door in my face, I could get out the way but my finger didn't and cut it right on the spot," Rivera said.
With a storm pounding his Yabucoa home, there was no way Rivera could get to the hospital. A day later, and after walking two miles, Rivera finally made it to the hospital, but there were more problems.
"After six hours being there they close the hospital because they didn't have any supplies, and the generator was overheating too," said Rivera, who received no medical attention for more than four days.
Rivera works as an aircraft maintenance technician for Jetblue Airways. The company he devotes his time to decided to give back to one of their own, and they flew him to their Fort Lauderdale hub on one of their humanitarian flights so he could get help.
Dr. Roberto Miki, a hand and orthopedic surgeon at South Miami Hospital, immediately performed surgery to save Rivera's finger. The doctor said things could have been much worse.
"You're talking about some serious risk for the life-threatening, or limb-threatening infection," Miki said.
Miki said Rivera will be able to go back to work sometime in the next 30 days.
"I got to say thank you. You have a friend, and you did more than heal my wound," Rivera said.