Healthcare Professionals, Natural Disaster Team Take Their Skills To Puerto Rico

CHICAGO (CBS) — The residents in Puerto Rico are struggling to find food and water after Hurricane Maria destroyed parts of the island.

Many people still cannot make phone calls to reach loves ones because power is scarce. But on Wednesday night, a team of professionals from the Chicago area are taking their skills to Puerto Rico to help those who need it most. CBS 2’s Sandra Torres has more.

“Here are some of the medications we are taking to Puerto Rico – ibuprofen, band-aids,” said Theresa Siaw, Omni Healthcare.

Medical supplies like these are in high demand in Puerto Rico.

“There’s people with chronic diseases, diabetes, life threatening and they’re not getting reach for days,” Siaw said.

But even more so, the need for doctors is urgent.

“There are people dying in hospitals now,” said Doctor Eric Mizuno.

That is why Doctor Eric Mizuno from Omni Healthcare in Humboldt Park is going to the island with 12 members of his clinic.

“To be down there, physically, to bring down not only supplies, but our abilities and skills to people in Puerto Rico suffering so much,” Dr. Mizuno said.

That is also why Chicagoan Eric James is planning a trip to San Juan.

“Field Ready responds to natural disasters worldwide,” said Eric James, Director of Field Ready.

His non-profit called Field Ready includes a team with unique skills that are helpful during disaster relief.

“Team is made up of three people: team leader, engineer and designer,” James said.

They travel with 3-D printing machines to create tools once in the field.

“For example if a water pipe is broken or leaking, we can manufacture a new pipe fitting and put it in place,” he said.

They all have very unique skills. The biggest challenge for them is to find a way to get to Puerto Rico, as flights to the island are restricted.

The earliest flight Omni Healthcare can get for the entire team is on Oct. 9.

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