Boston Woman in Puerto Rico to See Ailing Mother Through Surgery

A Boston woman left for Puerto Rico Saturday, desperate to get to her ailing mother, who is in intensive care.

Maribel Collazo's mother has congestive heart failure and needs surgery at a time when most of the island doesn't have basic necessities.

"It's a very serious procedure," the Brighton resident said.

The doctors were going to perform the surgery, but they had to stop because of Hurricane Irma. Then it was delayed further by Hurricane Maria. That's when Collazo knew there was a good chance her mother might not make it to the surgery. She hopped on a relief flight, and shortly after arriving, she was horrified.

"You go from having all of the necessities to having nothing," said Collazo.

Collazo said not only is the hospital running on generators and losing electricity from time to time, but her other family members are desperate for help.

"All of my family is getting their supplies out of their pocket. No one from the state's government is helping out," Collazo said. "Maybe they are in other areas, because this is an urban area."

The Red Cross says it has 750 volunteers and employees in Puerto Rico and will continue to send more over the next several months.

"It's a disaster. Nothing goes well in a disaster. I know its logistically a hard situation and everyone is doing their best right now," said Jeff Hall of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts.

Colazzo's mother made it through the surgery, but will need several procedures in this long recovery process.

"So I have the satisfaction to see her alive — and that's what I wanted," said Collazo.

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