Puerto Rican Hospitals Are in Critical Condition
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Puerto Rican Hospitals Are in Critical Condition

Just a Few Have Power; Deaths Reported; ‘Hysteria Is Starting to Spread’

Crisis. Only 11 of 69 hospitals in Puerto Rico have fuel or power. Without power, life-saving machines like ventilators must run on emergency backup power. Two people on life support died because their San Juan hospital ran out of fuel.

The U.S. Army is taking over efforts to repair and rebuild the island’s electricity grid. The Trump administration won’t waive shipping restrictions to help get gasoline and other supplies to Puerto Rico. The Department of Homeland Security said lifting the restrictions wouldn’t help Puerto Rico because the ports are damaged.

“We are finding people whose oxygen tanks are running out because our small generators now don’t have any diesel,” said San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz. Diabetics are running out of insulin. People in Aguas Buenas are hacking coconuts to eat and collecting water from mountain streams. “Hysteria is starting to spread,” Jose Sanchez Gonzalez, mayor of Manati, told the Associated Press. “The hospital is about to collapse. It’s at capacity. We need someone to help us immediately.” The U.S. military is planning to send the USNS Comfort hospital ship to Puerto Rico.

Affordable Care Act. The Republican effort to take health insurance from millions of moderate- and low-income Americans is dead. Again. At least three senators—Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.)—opposed the bill. Democrats said it was time for Republicans to work with them to fix the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act.

Saudi Arabia. Women in Saudi Arabia will be able to drive, starting in June. The change was announced in a royal decree read live on state television and at a media event in Washington. Saudi women must pay for drivers or be driven by male relatives. The first protest against the ban was in 1990. After the change was announced, an anonymous text circulated through What’s App in the kingdom, calling on the “virtuous ones” to work against its implementation.

Alabama. Roy Moore trounced incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama, despite Trump and other Republican leaders supporting Strange and spending millions to defeat the twice-removed former chief justice of the state Supreme Court. Trump recorded robocalls and campaigned for Strange in Huntsville. Most voters said they were not influenced by Trump. Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 general election for the seat formerly held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

September 27, 2017