Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 according to npr.org.
Now, four months later, it seems like support efforts and mentions have died down and dispersed.
There is an assumption that Puerto Rico’s situation is not affecting the U.S. as a country. Ignoring the fact that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and so a part of our country regardless, it is still affecting us as a country. Important medical supplies, such as IV bags, are being put off and ignored. One giant of medical supply factories is Baxter International, which has three locations in Puerto Rico, was forced to shut down and have only just restored operations according to ABC News.
The IV saline product shortage existed before the crisis in Puerto Rico, but has been made more serious and immediate by the destruction of these facilities, according to FDA.gov.
Shortage of some amino acids has led to food shortages, including for babies and pediatric patients.
“It’s devastating for pediatrics and babies because hospitals were telling us they were down to just a few days’ supply and they were really getting extremely concerned,” Captain Valerie Jensen, Associate Director of the Drug Shortages Program in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research told NBC News.
These items are considered overly commonplace and almost background to main equipment, but their absence causes a lot of pain and unrecommended stretching of resources.
Most hospitals around the country have been reducing their use, but supplies are still running too low, leading to some hospitals resorting to “gray market” methods of gaining their information, according to Philly.com.
The lack of attention this issue has been receiving is a sign of apathy to countries outside of our own, and as unethical as that is, it is also incorrect. The problems from this hurricane are not isolated to Puerto Rico; they are reaching out, begging for our attention and making it impossible to care for our ill.