Dr. Stephanie Prior, a physician at Community Health Center of Cape Cod since 2006, recently returned from Puerto Rico where she provided medical assistance for two weeks to residents devastated by Hurricane Maria. Stationed mostly in Arroyo, Patillas and Maunabo, Dr. Prior treated patients in clinics set up on basketball courts during the mornings and visited homebound patients in the mountains in the afternoons. Dr. Prior worked as part of a team from Heart to Heart International, an organization that strives to strengthen communities through improving healthcare access, providing humanitarian development and administering crisis relief efforts worldwide using volunteers and partners.
Dr. Prior’s Heart to Heart team was comprised of five health professionals, including two physicians, a paramedic, a certified midwife, and an EMT. Dr. Prior’s primary responsibilities included providing and refilling medications and performing general medical triage. She also administered vaccines for tetanus and the flu. As Puerto Rico continues to experience interrupted telecommunications, including internet and cell phone use, Dr. Prior said she and the team drove around the neighborhoods to announce the times they would be available to see patients. “For the most part, everyone was really well taken care of,” Dr. Prior said.
This is Dr. Prior’s second time working with Heart to Heart, and she completed a trip to Haiti in February 2016. Dr. Prior remains steadfast in her humility insisting that we should commend the people of Puerto Rico for their optimism and tenacity during such a difficult time.