Puerto Rico Resident Survives Hurricane, Suffers Stroke

Officials in Puerto Rico say the health care situation is dire after Hurricane Maria.

It's been three weeks since the hurricane struck, and in addition to food, water and electricity, many residents are in need of medical supplies and care.

All of that adds to the gratitude felt by one of the island's residents, who evacuated to North Texas days before she suffered a stroke.

"I suffered a stroke on the 25th of September. I've been in the hospital ever since," said 68-year-old Grisel Crespo.

She says her husband and children stayed on the island, while she evacuated to Texas, where she's been trying to establish a new home.

She had only been back in Puerto Rico a few weeks, when the hurricane made landfall.

"We lost everything we had there, except family," Crespo said.

Much of the island's healthcare infrastructure has yet to recover.

Officials there report only about half of Puerto Rico's medical employees have returned to work, and hospitals are running low on medicine and low on power from diesel-run generators.

Last week, North Texas Congressman Michael C. Burgess, a medical doctor and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, toured hospitals and met with key health officials to assess the status of Puerto Rico's medical infrastructure following recent hurricanes.

"I am deeply concerned about the medical system in Puerto Rico as it recovers from the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. On Monday, I heard from physicians, nurses and hospital administrators about their concerns for Puerto Rico's medical infrastructure. As the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, I want to ensure the subcommittee will do its job to help our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico," Burgess said in a statement.

"My country is suffering," said Crespo's husband, Carlos Morey, who arrived my his wife's side as soon as he could.

They wonder what would have happened if Crespo suffered her stroke while still in Puerto Rico, but as fate would have it, she ended up in the care of Dr. Neha Shah, at Medical City Fort Worth.

"Her swallowing is improving, her speech is improving, so we are very hopeful that we are going to be able to get her home soon," Shah said.

The couple's home will soon be Bedford, where Crespo says she'll take full advantage of what fate has given her.

"I'll do the same to help others and make them feel better," she said.

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