Med Student Sets Up Makeshift Clinic to Help Red Hook’s Sandy Victims

RED HOOK — On the fourth day without power at the Red Hook Houses, Renette A. Fisher-Benn, a 63-year-old diabetic, had to throw out the insulin she needs to stay healthy because the medicine requires refrigeration.
The electric-powered oxygen tank that helps with her respiratory problems was out of commission, so she resorted to using a smaller battery-operated model. And she couldn’t refill her blood pressure medication because the local pharmacy was flooded.
Luckily the medical crisis didn’t last. Fisher-Benn was able to route her prescription to a different pharmacy, and power was restored to her apartment last week, though she still has no heat and uses her stove to stay warm.
“Everything ain’t peaches and cream, but when I wake up in the morning, I say thank you to God,” Fisher-Benn, who lives alone with her cat, Stuff, said.
But thousands of Red Hook residents are still struggling without power, heat, hot water — even the ability to flush their toilets. And many, like Fisher-Benn, live with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure.
Their risk of developing potentially life-threatening complications grows with each passing day they spend without basic utilities.
Now a makeshift medical operation has sprung up to help keep locals — especially the homebound elderly — healthy until power is restored.
Leslie Albrecht reports here.

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Filed Under: FeaturedGlobal HealthMarginalized Populations in Healthcare

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