Health Law & Business News

In Puerto Rico, Lack of U.S. Aid Makes a Risky Pregnancy Riskier

March 8, 2019, 2:30 PM

Seventeen months after Hurricane Maria, the remote Puerto Rican island of Vieques is still waiting on federal money to rebuild its hospital.

It won’t arrive in time to give Zuleima Nieves peace of mind.

The Family Health Center Susana Centeno in Vieques was wrecked by Hurricane Maria. Plans for its repair are still unsettled.
Photographer: Xavier Garcia/Bloomberg

She and Vieques’s other 9,000 residents depend on a makeshift clinic in a former storm shelter and three trailers for dialysis, dentistry and basic care. But the 22-year-old with hyperthyroidism is about six months into a high-risk pregnancy and must travel to San Juan every every two weeks for checkups. When labor pains arrive, it’s time to race to the “big island.”

“If something happens...

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