Health Department adrift in the midst of the pandemic

Ten days after the Government of Puerto Rico began to take the coronavirus seriously, Puerto Ricans are in the midst of the deadly pandemic without a Health Department to count on. With no public health expert in charge of the decisions on which the lives of 3.2 million people who live on this island depend. The Health Department has no data, no projections that allow for coherent   planning and response, no communications manager with expertise or experience in public health education, and no large-scale educational campaign despite the many millions spent on advertising superfluous matters. Former Health Secretary Rafael Rodríguez-Mercado, who had previously mishandled the emergencies created by Hurricane María in 2017 and the earthquakes between December 2019 and January 2020, “resigned” on Friday, Mar. 13, the day the first positive COVID-19 case in Puerto Rico was confirmed.

Facing the risk of new earthquakes, Puerto Rico lacks a coordinated massive response plan for trauma emergencies

The greatest immediate death threat after earthquakes, such as those Puerto Rico has experienced for more than two weeks, are traumas that people may be exposed to in the face of a structural collapse. But Health Secretary Rafael Rodríguez-Mercado has not shared a plan to address this risk nor has contacted his specialized trauma team since the earthquakes began, dangerously exposing the public. So far, the director of the only trauma center on the island, the Medical Center’s Trauma Hospital, and president of the Puerto Rico Trauma Committee before the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Pablo Rodríguez-Ortiz, has not been contacted by Rodríguez-Mercado neither before nor during the emergency that has already claimed two lives, has downed dozens of structures, resulting in more than 2,000 evacuees. Rodríguez-Mercado has not shared the current written plan —the Public Health and Medical Services Emergency Management Operational Plan — with his Trauma director, nor has he addressed the hospital’s structural deficiencies, according to internal sources and documents obtained by the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish). The 1,048-page plan only mentions the Trauma Hospital once and makes brief mentions about the Medical Center’s role in an emergency such as an earthquake.

Hacen públicos nuevos protocolos para hospitales en caso de desastres

A horas del paso de la tormenta Dorian por Puerto Rico, el Departamento de Salud (DS) reveló los nuevos protocolos que serán implementados en los hospitales en caso de desastres naturales, para evitar la pérdida de vidas que ocurrió luego del huracán María. Tras una petición del Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (CPI), la agencia entregó este miércoles el Plan Operacional de Manejo de Emergencias del DS que está vigente y que contiene los nuevos protocolos. Sin embargo, al igual que los planes anteriores, el plan firmado por el secretario de Salud, Rafael Rodríguez Mercado en mayo de 2019, no está disponible en la página de internet de la agencia. El mismo plan establece que debe ser publicado en la página web del Departamento, por lo que durante los pasados tres meses, el DS ha estado en incumplimiento. Por tanto, hoy como ayer la ciudadanía desconoce el plan de respuesta a emergencias de salud que se supone que se siga.

The pillage of public funds in Puerto Rico going on behind the chat

Elías Sánchez, Carlos Bermúdez and Edwin Miranda have generated millions through their businesses and have decided much of what has happened in the government in terms of hiring, firing and public projection since Rosselló-Nevares took office in January 2017, the sources agree. In Sánchez’s case, there are also inappropriate and illegal interventions with cabinet secretaries.

El saqueo a los fondos públicos detrás del chat

Elías Sánchez, Carlos Bermúdez y Edwin Miranda han generado millones a través de sus negocios y han decidido buena parte de lo que ha pasado en el Gobierno en términos de contrataciones, despidos y proyección pública desde que Rosselló Nevares asumió el cargo en enero de 2017, coinciden las fuentes. En el caso de Sánchez, también hay intervenciones indebidas e ilegales con secretarios de gabinete.