Yale-New Haven Hospital targeting youth in Puerto Rico relief efforts

NEW HAVEN -- With such a large Puerto Rican population, Connecticut is stepping up in response to Hurricane Maria, which devastated that U.S. territory. This includes Yale-New Haven Hopsital.

A Yale pediatrician's motivation is children and her own family.

"I'm born and raised in Puerto Rico," said Dr. Marietta Vazquez.

In just 24 hours, Dr. Vazquez was part of a hospital group that had organized a shipment of medical supplies and medications for pediatric patients in Puerto Rico.

"We have over 15,000 pounds of medications and goods," said Vazquez.

She says Yale-New Haven is the first hospital in the United States to send medical relief to Puerto Rico. And, she's issuing a challenge to other healthcare facilities to carry out the same philanthropy.

"There are many, many, many others (hospitals) where Puerto Ricans are faculty, are students, are patients, who are cared for in their medical centers," said Vazquez.

An organization called Puerto Rico Rises Connecticut was instrumental in filling a large box truck with roughly $75,000 worth of supplies.

"What we are trying to do is coordinate the donations from all over the 50 states, especially the major cities and sending them to Puerto Rico in an organized fashion, said Dr. David de Angel, another native of Puerto Rico, who is another Yale pediatrician.

You can find Puerto Rico Rises Connecticut on Facebook.

"This organization specifically has been instrumental in trying and connecting me to people who are going to distribute the supplies once they get there," said de Angel

The shipment is scheduled on a United Airlines flight out of Newark tonight. United donated the cargo space.

"I think it's somewhere in the range of you know $75,000 worth of medical supplies that we're giving," said Lorraine Lee, the Vice President of Pharmacy Services, at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
"I never anticipated that it would be this large," said Vazquez.