Woman loses aunt in need of medical care after Hurricane Maria

Posted: Updated:

A Yonkers woman says her aunt died in Puerto Rico after she could not get the medical care she needed following Hurricane Maria.

Gladys Viruet says her Aunt Luisa was at her mountaintop home in Cupey when the hurricane hit and it blew her house down the hill.

She says her elderly aunt had a tooth removed before the storm and had stitches.

"When the hurricane hit, of course, she didn't get any doctor's care to take the stitches out, the infection just grew…She became severely dehydrated with no access to water or food," she says.

Viruet says family members took her to three hospitals, but no one could care for her because they didn't have the equipment and didn't have power or air conditioning as a result of the hurricane. The family finally found care in nearby Rio Piedras.

"The hospital got a generator and was able to hook her up to the machines and everything, but she didn't last much after that," says Viruet.

According to the Puerto Rican government's website, there are currently 65 hospitals receiving federal assistance on the island, and only 49 have electricity. The hospital where Luisa was finally admitted is not on the list.

Viruet says her aunt died last week, but her body is currently sitting in a federal building that has a cooling system. She says the funeral parlor does not have electricity, so her aunt will have to be cremated.

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