When Hurricane Ian hit Florida on September 28 as a Category 4 hurricane, it brought with it devastating rainfall, flooding, storm surge and winds.
Our disaster response medical team deployed to Florida and treated patients in under-resourced areas of DeSoto and Lee counties for two weeks after the storm. In addition to providing free medical care, Heart to Heart International distributed more than 13,000 hygiene kits to people impacted by the storm and is continuing to support local health clinics working to rebuild.
This story from the response shows how important healthcare access is in the aftermath of a disaster.
“A young woman with diabetes was able to come to our clinic multiple times during the two weeks we worked in Arcadia, Florida, in DeSoto county. She was in need of insulin but had been unable to get more from her pharmacy, and her home didn’t have power to keep it refrigerated. She was afraid that she would need to start rationing her insulin until she could get another prescription. Heart to Heart International was able to give her several doses of life-saving insulin to keep her healthy until her power was restored.”
Support for health continues
Thanks to our many incredibly generous donors, including the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Heart to Heart International positioned its portable health clinics in support of two local healthcare facilities that had been badly damaged in the storm.
Our portable clinics will fill the gap while the local clinics are being repaired. These will be serving at Healthcare Network SWFL in Naples, Florida, and Samaritan Health and Wellness in Cape Coral, Florida, which both provide healthcare services regardless of income or insurance status.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with Heart to Heart International coming to us in our time of need,” Trey Fletcher with Healthcare Network said. “Our site was hit hard by Hurricane Ian, and we were going to have to move patients to other facilities to be seen. But most of our patients need to be seen near where they live. The clinic being here gives us the opportunity to give people the care they need in the place they need it in a timely fashion.”
Samaritan Health and Wellness Center’s location had a lot of wind and water damage from the storm. “When Hurricane Ian plowed through our area, our offices were pretty much destroyed as the roof was ripped off, water came in and messed up the whole office,” Sue Hook, Nurse Practitioner at Samaritan Health and Wellness Center, said.
The clinic were able to use some space at a nearby church, but needed more space for patients.
“We were blessed to be acquainted with Heart to Heart International who brought us a mobile unit here to the church so we’d have another exam room. It’s a beautiful space and our patients are going to be able to not only use the inside of this church building but also the clinic here in the parking lot. We’re just really blessed to be able to be here,” Dr. Hook said.
Both of these portable clinics will remain in place, serving patients, until the repairs to the damaged locations are completed.