Doctors Without Borders has set up its first medical clinic inside the United States to help with relief from Hurricane Sandy. For Manhattan doctor Lucy Doyle, who has spent time with the global medical relief organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya, being at home is an eye-opener.
Instead of helping in a far-off country, Doyle is now finding herself on the front line of a disaster area just miles from where she normally works, reports Yahoo! News. Doyle stated:
“A lot of us have said it feels a lot like being in the field in a foreign country.”
Doyle, who works with Doctors Without Borders, specializes in internal medicine at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, which has been closed due to damage from Sandy. The medical relief organization has opened temporary emergency clinics in the Rockaways, which is a remote part of Queens that faces the Atlantic Ocean.
Some residents in the area are still lacking in power and heat more than a week after the massive storm came ashore, wreaking havoc on 21 states. Doyle commented, “I don’t think any of us expected to see this level of lacking access to healthcare.”
The Associated Free Press notes that Doctors Without Borders media relations manager Michael Goldfarb noted there have been gaps in health care after Hurricane Sandy that the organization is able to address. He stated:
“There are real needs here and we’re doing our best to try to meet them. There are vulnerable people here.”
Candie Humphrey, 28, a nurse practitioner, stated that she never thought the first place she would team up with the organization would be in her own backyard. The Brooklyn resident has been training with the organization since September and is awaiting her first placement overseas.
Humphrey stated that she has provided home visit-type health to people in buildings that have no electricity or running water above the fifth floor. She added that some people on the upper floors “are essentially trapped” because of ailments like knee and back problems that prevent them from walking up and down stairs. Humphrey explained:
“We are seeing a lot of people who are running out of their medications. People with diabetes, type 2, HIV, high cholesterol, other chronic health conditions that are not getting the medications that they normally would be taking because their supply chain has been broken.”
Nicole Russell, 64, has been helping direct her friends and neighbors to the clinic, which is in the bottom floor of her apartment building. She praised the volunteers from Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross who she has seen repeatedly walking up and down 20 flights of stairs to take care of patients.