Reno physician helps veterans in Puerto Rico

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Under normal circumstances, Dr. Ivan Correa is the chief of staff at the Veterans Affairs Sierra Nevada Health Care System.

He is also a Puerto Rican native, and decided to fly to the island to check on the status of his parents, after two devastating hurricanes hit the area.

”They tell me they are okay. But okay is a relative term. You know okay is that they are alive, and that they are being able to eat some food, and that they go to bed, they wake up in the morning. It is not that everything is fine,” says Dr. Correa.

But as a physician locally, taking care of vets, Dr. Correa says he couldn't help but answer the call to attend to veterans on the island both at a veterans' home of 100 patients, and other veterans who for now cannot leave their homes because of the massive damage around the island.

“476 veterans. We have either laid eyes in a vast majority of them we have laid eyes, but almost to 90% of those... going house to house and seeing individuals that are already set up with the VA and depend upon us to provide primary care at home. It’s called home based primary care,” says Dr. Correa.

Fuel is tough to come by, he says the Veteran's Hospital is running off of generators, but it is in a limited capacity.

While he feels good about the care given to veterans during these tough times, he is also surprisingly optimistic about the civilians on the island as well,

”They are going to be able to get over this, and being able to see that there is a bright future for Puerto Rico,” says Dr. Correa.

He'll be headed home early next week.