Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Medical supplies in Puerto Rico have 'little value' unless accessible to all

 

Sanjay Gupta, MD, a faculty member at Atlanta-based Emory University School of Medicine, associate chief of neurosurgery at Atlanta-based Grady Memorial Hospital and chief medical correspondent at CNN, documented his recent visit to Puerto Rico and analyzed the territory's health system in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Dr. Gupta spoke with residents and medical professionals affected by the hurricane for CNN.  He said one week after the hurricane caused unprecedented damage across the island, hospitals and health systems are in dire need of medical supplies to keep their facilities running.

The necessary supplies are already on the island at a shipping port in San Juan, according to Dr. Gupta. The issue, he claimed, is medical personnel cannot access the supplies and medication because of the lack of fuel and working transportation to transfer the items to health facilities across the island. Volunteer physicians have been personally traveling to the capital to obtain the necessities and transporting them back to their health facilities, he said.

"One of my favorite professors in medical school told me something I never forgot: 'You can create the best treatment in the world, but if it doesn't reach the people who need it, it has no value.' I think the same can be said about what's happening in Puerto Rico. So many life-saving supplies are on the island, but until they get to the people who need them, they have little value," Dr. Gupta said.

To read about Dr. Gupta's experience, click here.

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