Friday, November 3, 2017

After Maria, VA Battles PTSD, Other Health Issues in Puerto Rico Veterans

A month and a half after hurricane Maria, the VA Caribbean Healthcare system is delivering care in unconventional ways. And it's helping veterans whose PTSD was triggered by the storm.
Every morning now, staff from the main VA hospital in San Juan hit the road.
The Department of Veterans Affairs knows that many of its patients had their lives so thoroughly disrupted by Hurricane Maria that they haven't been able to come in for treatment. So it's checking its records to see which ones haven't been in recently, and it's sending nurses and medical social workers like Eduardo Vicinty-Santini out to see them.
On a recent day, he checked on retired Army Master Sergeant Luciano Sevilla-Rivera, who lives alone except for his tiny dog Papito in a small retirement community in the mountains an hour southeast of San Juan.
"Do you have any other relatives that look after you?" Vincinty-Santini asked the 72-year-old Vietnam veteran.
Like many VA patients, Sevilla-Rivera responded that he's pretty much on his own. He recently lost his mother, who was his only relative in Puerto Rico.
He said his isolation, as well as the trauma of going through the Category 4 hurricane, triggered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

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