Puerto Rican Teen Dies Due to Lack of Medical Resources Since Hurricane Maria

A 13-year-old Puerto Rican girl is dead, and her family is blaming the government for lack of resources

Photo: Unsplash/@siednji

Photo: Unsplash/@siednji

A 13-year-old Puerto Rican girl is dead, and her family is blaming the government for lack of resources. Jaideliz Moreno Ventura died earlier this week after suffering flu-like symptoms, NBC reports, and her family said her death could have been prevented if a proper medical facility existed. 

Jaideliz’s family lives on the island of Vieques, which is a small island located off the east coast of Puerto Rico. The hospital in Vieques has yet to be rebuilt since it was destroyed during Hurricane Maria

According to news reports, as soon as Jaideliz began showing signs of the flu, her family took her to a hospital on the main island of Puerto Rico. It was there that she was tested for influenza. However, when the test came back negative, her family took her back home, but her symptoms only worsened. 

She was back in Vieques when she began convulsing. Her family then took her to a local clinic on the small island, but that facility didn’t have the proper medical equipment to deal with Jaideliz’s condition. 

NBC News reports that the clinic lacked a “functioning respirator to give her the oxygen she needed when her levels plummeted. Instead, the facility only had a smaller, manual pump.”

Medical officials airlifted Jaideliz to a hospital on the main island, but she died en route. 

“If we had more resources, she would be with us right now,” Jaideliz’s cousin José Ventura told NBC News. “They have forgotten about us.”

More than two years since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the island has suffered immensely and not just from that recovery process but in the aftermath of prominent earthquakes. Weeks after a 5.9 earthquake caused significant damage in Puerto Rico, and more aftershocks followed, President Donald Trump never tweeted about the situation. Only now has he “declared that a major disaster exists.” 

“Thank you, President [Trump] for signing the declaration of disaster for the southern towns of Puerto Rico after the January earthquakes,” Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Jenniffer González tweeted. “Your action will help the island in the recovery process.”

However, relief funds have been very slow to reach the island, and Trump is still withholding a large portion of those funds. While Congress approved $20 billion in aid, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has only released $1.5 billion, the New York Times reports. The government’s reasoning for withholding money? So-called political corruption. Puerto Rico has only spent $5 million of the funds it has received.

In this Article

Hurricane Maria puerto rico Puerto Rico earthquakes
More on this topic