Credit: Chris Nickels for NPR
In the small clinic where I work in Boston, it is rare to see a new, middle-aged patient who has yet to see a doctor in this city. Trust me — we are everywhere.
So when I saw an unfamiliar woman’s name pop-up on my list for the afternoon, I was surprised to find an otherwise empty medical file. A recent transplant to Boston, I guessed.
That turned out to be all too true. The woman had lived the majority of her life in St. John, one of the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands that sustained severe damage from Hurricane Irma. As we began talking, she retold the details of her journey in a small boat to Puerto Rico hours before the storm struck. She traveled with only a bag of her valuables and her beloved cat. (I’m not using her name to guard the patient’s privacy.)
And now in Boston, she has to face the loss of her home, possessions, daily routines — and, as it turns out — her medical care.
Much media attention has centered on the immediate damage caused by the Category 4 hurricanes but