Hurricane Maria’s left Puerto Rico in devastation. As a result, hospitals are struggling to care for their sickest patients, which has forced a mom & her newborn girl to flee to Miami to try & save the baby’s life!
Baby Gabriellyz Ruiz was born just two weeks ago in Puerto Rico with a serious heart defect. In desperate need of a life-saving operation, the infant was unable to receive treatment after Hurricane Maria, the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico in decades, left the island’s hospitals in disarray. Devastated, Gabriellyz’s mom, Cheira Ruiz, and her father, appeared to have no where to turn to save their precious little girl’s life. Thankfully, a miracle occurred when Gabriellyz became one of the tiniest patients to be evacuated to Miami in the wake of the hurricane! Click here to see the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.
The newborn, who was one of the first infants cleared to take a medical flight out of Puerto Rico since the storm, was rushed to Miami to continue treatment for her condition. However, only hours before the flight was scheduled to depart, Gabriellyz’s parents learned there was room for just one of them on board. Cheira, ended up flying with her daughter alone. “I’m trying to be strong,” the new mom said on Sept. 23, according to Reuters.com. Originally, Gabriellyz was admitted to the Centro Cardiovascular de Puerto Rico, but that was shortly before Maria hit the island. After the hurricane, it was “impossible” for doctors to operate.
The Ruizs found out the good news that their daughter would receive treatment in the U.S., on Sept. 22. Emergency officials ended up knocking on their door in the town of Guanica and telling them in person to pack for the trip to Miami. Since phone service was out, the doctors had called one of the island’s radio stations, which then broadcast their plea for help in locating the couple. Pretty amazing, right? While baby Gabriellyz and her mom are two of the lucky few who have been able to get out to receive help, most of the island’s residents are suffering in huge ways since Maria hit.
Not only is food in short supply, the island’s electrical grid is down and may remain so for MONTHS. Motorists and pedestrians have been waiting in line tirelessly in hopes to secure scarce fuel to power vehicles and generators. Cell phone service, internet, email, and all other forms of communication have virtually disappeared. Radio has become the primary source of information. For hospitals, it’s even worse. After the power went out, some back-up generators failed quickly. Other hospitals are running critically low on diesel.
“Another hospital wants to transfer two critical patients here because they don’t have electricity,” Dr. Ivan Gonzalez Cancel, a cardiovascular surgeon and director of the heart transplant program at Centro Cardiovascular said. “We can’t take them. We have the same problem.” Fuel’s not the only problem though, the cardiovascular center was “in shambles” after the storm, Dr. Gonzalez Cancel said.
Not even leaving is simple. With the island’s main airport still in disarray, Dr. Gonzalez Cancel said he had to secure a special waiver from authorities to obtain the medical evacuation flight for baby Gabriellyz. Travelers at the airport on Sept. 24 were told that passengers who do not already have tickets may not be able to secure flights out until Oct. 4. To donate directly to hurricane Maria relief efforts, you can visit the American Red Cross. You can also donate through United Way, the Hispanic Federation, and the Salvation Army.
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