With strong ties to Puerto Rico, hospital staff in New York put their lives on hold to conduct vital clinical missions to the island after Hurricane Maria.
The storm hit on Sept. 20, a Wednesday. By that weekend, we were part of calls that the governor's office had put together.
There are incredible ties between New York and Puerto Rico and that even applies to many of our member institutions that have significant portions of their employees with personal ties to Puerto Rico; either they're from Puerto Rico or have family there. There was a very personal outcry from hospital employees across the city and state who said, “We need to do more. We need to help.”
Because we're sending healthcare providers into a disaster situation, there's life insurance and liability and credentialing issues involved. We had to spend quite a bit of time figuring out the structure through which we were going to send them.
We ended up having a first team of 78 clinical staff going down and then a second team, by luck, was also 78.