Surviving the Storms Surviving the Storms - Page 9






"Words cannot express my appreciation for what each individual contributed during this exercise. In sum: to care for our people."

Carla Brunk, RN, James A. Haley VAMC

'Help on the Way' from page 7

The VA is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Defense coordinating the ferry of water, food, medical supplies, mobile communications and other equipment to Puerto Rico as part of U.S. Government relief efforts there.

Meanwhile, more than 200 VA staff from across the country—and that number continues to grow--volunteered to travel to Puerto Rico to provide services there as part of the Defense Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS), the Veteran Health Administration’s deployment program for clinical and non-clinical staff in an emergency or disaster situation.

To provide care to those hardest hit in PR, Mobile Medical Units from the VA hospitals in Orlando and Tampa are also deploying to the island as is a large Mobile Medical Shelter from the West Palm Beach VAMC. A Mobile VA Pharmacy, Vet Center and other units are also in the works.

This chapter in Puerto Rico’s history is still being written, however, one thing is certain: these destructive storms are a reminder of what a positive difference people can make.

Hats off to the many selfless, generous and caring VA employees across our network who despite the storms and the havoc they caused--remained—and still remain--at their patients’ sides, ever vigilant and committed to accomplishing our #1 mission: Caring For Those Who Have Borne the Battle.

Taking Care of Patients, Staff, Families & Each Other

Family Support Centers were set up at the VA hospitals in Florida and Puerto Rico in advance of Hurricanes Irma and Maria for essential VA staff who wanted to be there for their patients, but didn’t want to leave their loved ones behind. Some facilities hosted families for several days and VA employees got creative to keep them entertained during the long hours of waiting out the storms.