NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - As millions of Puerto Ricans remain without power, water and access to medical care, many New Yorkers are doing their part.
In October, 26 doctors, nurses, and physician assistants from New York-Presbyterian Hospital loaded up their backpacks and several hundred pounds of supplies and headed down to the storm-ravaged island to help. It was part of a Greater New York Hospital Association deployment to Puerto Rico.
ER nurse Karen Miranda and pediatric ICU nurse Margarita Roman were among the health care providers to make the trip as part of NYP's first deployment to the island. It was personal for Roman because her father and other relatives live in Puerto Rico.
The group set up in a conference center in the hard-hit town of Manati where they slept on military cots and treated patients with a wide range of ailments out of a makeshift triage area.
Jeff Bokser, NYP's vice president of safety, security and emergency services, coordinated the deployments from the hospital's New York headquarters. He said that when the call for volunteers to go down first went out he was overwhelmed by responses. He said the teams cared for about 5,400 patients.
The colleagues powered through the emotional and physical challenges, despite long hours and stressful conditions.
With the humanitarian crisis ongoing in Puerto Rico, NYP likely will send more teams there in the future to help. When that call comes, these doctors and nurses say they'll be ready to answer it again.