Meeting the Resilient Ryder Team..
Updated: Dec 18, 2017
Authored By Susan DeSocio, CEO Foundation Medical Partners.
“SNHH is the first organization that reached out to us to ask us what they could do for the people of Ryder Hospital.” Those were Dr. Hallman’s opening words in a small ceremony to welcome the SNHH team from New Hampshire and introduce us to some of the employees impacted by Hurricane Maria. She also noted that our team “comes from a very cold place, New Hampshire, but they have very warm hearts”.
The staff told us their stories. By a show of hands two-thirds of the group had lost their homes and all their belongings. Most in the room were living with a family member or had taken family members in. These were people that had very little but were coming to work every day to care for their patients. We were presented with a list of things that would help them. The list includes towels, sheets, diapers, shoes. They have lost so much. I promised we would help. I was proud to represent the SNHH today. Below is one image of the extensive damage to the hospital. This is only one of many as you can imagine.
The people of the island of Puerto Rico are suffering in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The people of Ryder Hospital are experiencing that suffering but today we were surrounded by resiliency, perseverance and grace as they proudly showed us their facility, told stories of survival and stories of recovery. First, let us tell you about the administrators that despite their own personal tragedies set the tone for recovery.
We arrived at the hospital a little early and while we were walking around the outside I met a security guard named Victor. When he found out I was with the SNHH team his serous, no nonsense faced broke out in a big smile. He thanked us for not forgetting them, that was an interesting way of putting it, and gives you an idea of how powerful hope can be. When I asked him how we can help he said, we have very little, anything will help.
Dr. Martinez-Adorno got a big hug from Dr. Christina Ramos, the internal medicine/allergy physician who was our initial connection with Ryder Hospital. The leaders of the hospital (pictured below with our team) arrived and we met Dr. Deana Hallman, the Medical Director of Ryder Hospital who has been working tirelessly to write letters, appeal for grants apply for assistance - all in an effort to get her hospital repaired so they can care for the people of their community again. Deana just got electricity back at her house last week, where she has taken in several elderly neighbors and cared for them since the hurricane.
We also met Jose Feliciano, the administrator of the hospital, who showed us not only the devastation throughout the facility, but how they have taken the parts of the hospital less impacted and re-purposed them for patient care. The Skilled Nursing rooms that open into a courtyard (shown below) have been converted to acute inpatient beds. Ryder Hospital normally have 167 inpatient beds, they are currently running with 40 beds.
We met Maria Figueroa, the director of Human Resources, a lovely, amazing gracious individual who welcomed us warmly and made sure we knew how grateful they were for our interest in them. Maria introduced us to Egaldo, “the hero of Ryder Hospital” (shown below, second from right)
Egaldo was an employee in HR that was appointed the Safety Officer this past summer. He was just learning the ropes of his new position when the hurricanes hit, but he performed like a veteran. His story is worth a whole other entry.
Below are some images of the current landscape in Puerto Rico. There is so much more to share.