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Puerto Rico's healthcare system in dire condition 3 weeks after hurricane: 5 things to know

Sick people across Puerto Rico can't get access to the care they need nearly three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, according to The New York Times.

Here are five things to know about Puerto Rico's healthcare crisis.

1. Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, who leads the military effort in Puerto Rico, told The New York Times several of the island's hospitals sustained substantial structural damage in the storm. He said hospitals that have reopened still face limitations. "I won’t feel comfortable until the hospitals are back on the grid and they have sufficient medicines across the board," he told The New York Times.

2. Federal health officials said less than half of Puerto Rico's medical employees have came back to work in the weeks since the hurricane.

3. Dialysis centers in Puerto Rico have a limited amount of diesel to run their generators, which has forced dialysis patients across the island to reduce their treatment hours by 25 percent.

4. Ambulances in Caguas, a city south of San Juan, have responded to at least four calls since the hurricane where a patient died because their oxygen tank or ventilator lost power.

5. The Puerto Rico state epidemiologist said six people were being treated for leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that could have been spread through floodwaters contaminated with animal urine. Test results to confirm the diagnosis have not been completed. The mayor of Canóvanas, in the northeast part of Puerto Rico, said several people in her city died of the bacterial disease.

More articles on patient flow:

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Wildfires close 2 hospitals in Northern California
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