Three Florida Hospital doctors, born and trained in Puerto Rico, flew to the island Wednesday to respond to struggles in their homeland.

The doctors took supplies and left from Jacksonville on the humanitarian flight.

During the exploratory visit, the doctors will assess initial needs. A second group of physicians will join them next week and provide relief materials. After the two-week exploratory period, the group will help develop a long-term response plan.

In addition to being born and raised in Puerto Rico, the physicians were also trained in Puerto Rico, and are able to practice medicine on the island.

“We’re emergency medicine physicians with training in disaster, so I don’t think there’s a better specialist to be helping the people of Puerto Rico right now,” said Dr. Katia Lugo, emergency care physician at Florida Hospital. “We’re Spanish-speaking island natives, and we know the culture and geography of the island, so it’s easier for us to get to those places other teams are not able to reach,”

The doctors’ first stop will be a visit to Hospital UPR Dr. Federico Trilla in Carolina, Puerto Rico. The team will then venture into some of the rugged parts of the island to provide medical aid to small communities without health care facilities.

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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