Medical Mission To Puerto Rico

CHICAGO (CBS) – A Chicago doctor, who traveled to hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico to help with medical and emotional needs, is back home.

Dr. Eric Mizuno captured images with his phone. It’s how he documented his medical mission for two weeks in southern Puerto Rico.

“There’s a gentleman I have video of who was oxygen dependent, running off an oxygen producing device that requires electricity,” said Mizuno.

With no power on the island, the elderly man seen in the video is slowly suffocating, running out of oxygen.

“The shelter he was at had a generator that was running maybe 8-12 hours a day. 24 hours is better and is necessary, so we got him out,” Mizuno said.

And the needs were not just physical. A woman he encountered needed help dealing with her emotions.

“Her father had committed suicide the day before the hurricane. Now she’s in a shelter without family,” said Mizuno. “She’s tried to commit suicide twice in the shelter. And we were the first medical team to reach her.”

Dr. Mizuno’s team also took daily trips to the mountainous regions.

“The U.S. Army saw me, got off their jeeps and said, ‘What are you doing here? You’re the first relief worker we’ve seen.’ And I had already been there two and a half weeks after the hurricane,” he said.

Even though it was hard to leave the island, Dr. Mizuno said he’s glad he was able to help.

“You do a little bit and they’re just grateful people with what you do,” said Mizuno. “I owe that back to them because of all the kindness and devotion I’ve been shown here.”

While Dr. Mizuno’s team at Omni Healthcare in Humboldt Park has a room full of supplies for their next mission, they need more. They’re hoping to go back to the island at the end of Oct. and will be collection donations until then.

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