Doctors From UM, Jackson Hospital Traveling to Puerto Rico to Help Pediatric Patients After Maria

A group of doctors from the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital will be joining the efforts to help those in need following the devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

The group – led by the chair of the pediatric department, Dr. Judy Schaechter – will bring supplies, including diapers, formula and medicine, while visiting with pediatric patients in an effort to know what they are dealing with so they can know what treatments to use if or when those patients are brought to South Florida for treatment.

"We want to do an assessment in terms of what the providers need most and to do that best we want to make the personal connections," Schaechter said. "(We want) to be there to see the situation for ourselves and listen to what their needs are."

Schaechter and five other doctors, three of whom are natives of the country attempting to rebuild following the Category 4 storm’s landfall last month, left Miami on Tuesday morning for the day trip.

The group will meet with doctors from the main pediatric hospital in San Juan during their trip - an extremely personal mission for some who studied medicine in Puerto Rico and had family go through the storm.

"There's a wide group of physicians not only from the university, but private physicians that have made small groups to go - and you see the footage and there is a lot of people in the mountains that have no access to care," said Dr. Tania Fontanez-Nieves, one of the UM doctors who made the trip.

Officials say a major concern is the growth of mosquito-borne diseases and other illnesses caused by the large amount of standing water and high temperatures as a result of the storm.

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