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RI doctors return from mission in Puerto Rico

A group of Rhode Island doctors and nurses are returning home from a two-week long mission in Puerto Rico. (Photo courtesy of{ }Erin McDonough){ }

A group of Rhode Island doctors and nurses are returning home from a two-week long mission in Puerto Rico.

There, they provided medical attention to thousands of people who don't have access to doctors as Hurricane Maria recovery efforts continue.

Rhode Island's Disaster Medical Assistance Team joined other medical professionals from states like Arkansas, Oklahoma and Florida in Puerto Rico.

"We had a mix of medical professionals from doctors, physicians assistants, nurses, EMT's and other logistical people who helped out our team," said Scott Marcotte, RIDMAT's Safety Officer.

Marcotte is an ER nurse who worked alongside the U.S. Navy docked in San Juan.

"We saw everything from a rash, we set people up who had surgery, we even had babies delivered," Marcotte said.

The group helped more than 4,000 people in less than 10 days.

"A lot of people came into our triage point and expressed that their primary care doctors left the island," Marcotte said.

On Capitol Hill Tuesday, Puerto Rican officials told U.S. leaders the island needs more help, with estimated damage nearing $100 billion.

"There was damage to every aspect of infrastructure and the economy," said Mayor Angel Pérez Otero of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.

"There were a lot of people who came forward and cried, and said, "I don't want to cry," but said, "if you weren't here, I wouldn't be able to see a doctor or express what I need," Marcotte said.

An example that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

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