Mission Moments: Responding to the disaster in Puerto Rico

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we will share an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Dr. Monica Guzman Zayas

Dr. Monica Guzman Zayas watched helplessly as news reports showed her childhood home in Puerto Rico being decimated by hurricane winds and rain.

Her parents still live in her small hometown of Villalba, in a remote central area high in the mountains. For 16 days, she couldn’t reach them to find out if they were in a refugee center or if they were OK.

When the anesthesiologist at Old Pueblo Anesthesia finally was able to connect with them, she was relieved that they were OK. But she heard terrible stories of people on dialysis or in need of oxygen tanks struggling for any kind of routine medical services given the damage across the island to road networks, communication channels and power services.

“It just all seemed so desperate and I could not believe what I was seeing. I knew I had to help somehow.”

Dr. Guzman decided to ask if TMC might be able to assist with medications. The Pharmacy rapidly identified drugs that could make an immediate impact in the disaster, including those needed to treat infections and provide relief from symptoms.

“I cannot tell you how happy I was,” she said. “I asked because I feel that TMC is very involved in the community to make a difference. They don’t just say it, they do it. Their goal is to help the community to make things better, and that was true when another part of this country was in great need,” she said.

Guzman partnered with an aid group comprised of other doctors from Puerto Rico who banded together to secure desperately needed medicine, equipment and supplies. Dr. Guzman drew strength from seeing the photo (above) of the medical staff on the ground in Puerto Rico opening the boxes.

“It feels great to be able to help, especially being originally from there and seeing the destruction and knowing that what you remember is not there,” Dr. Guzman said. “You feel you are so far away and not able to reach them, so to be able to make some difference, I just don’t have the words to describe it.”

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for helping Villalba, PR many blessings to all

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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