Local family physician raises money to send medical supplies to Puerto Rico

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KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Three weeks ago Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico and survivors are still scrambling for food and water, but here in the east residents with a connection to Puerto Rico feeling the devastation as well.

Dr. Fernando Escabi, a family physician in Kinston, is stepping in to help friends, family, and strangers struggling with the conditions in Puerto Rico.

Doctor Escabi carries on his daily life in Kinston, North Carolina, but his heart aches for the place he still calls home.

“I was born in raised in Puerto Rico, specifically in the western towns…my college studies, my medical training, and my residencies were all done in Puerto Rico,” said Escabi.

The place he knows and loves is still struggling after hurricane Maria wrecked it all, so Escabi started a campaign to help those particularly in the western part of the island, who have not been able to get the help they need.

“We’re asking for whatever people can give us,” said Escabi. “We’re collecting items buy the bulk and donations in the form of money.”

One of the main things the campaign is trying to do is get medical supplies to the hospitals.

“The hospitals are running out of IV fluids, they are running out of intravenous antibiotics and some other things,” said Escabi. “The other part of the effort is getting daily necessities for shelters and nursing homes.”

With monetary donations, Escabi is working to get the supplies transported to the island.

“I’ve been in contact with doctors and friends back home to know what the greatest needs are so we can go about distributing this,” said Escabi, who will also be traveling with the supplies to make sure they get to where they need to go. “The only part of this trip that I am dreading is what I am going to find when I make it home and it doesn’t resemble what I know, but I am ready to help those on the island no matter what.”

Donations have been rolling in, but Escabi hopes he can collect more before he leaves sometime next week.

“I am grateful for UNC Lenoir Hospital’s donation of supplies as well,” said Escabi. “I’ve been very happy in eastern North Carolina, but Puerto Rico will forever be my home.”

For more information on how you can donate to the cause, please call Lenoir Family Medicine at 252-527-4146.

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