Health Adviser Says Puerto Rico in ‘Worsened Condition’ Since Whitefish Energy Contract Canceled
While news outlets and government officials scrutinize why a Montana company, Whitefish Energy, received a $300 million contract to help repair hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico’s electric grid, a Senior Adviser to the Puerto Rico Department of Health, Peter Marghella says people have suffered because of the cancellation of the Whitefish Energy contract.
"The view down [in Puerto Rico] was that there's nothing wrong with these guys," Marghella said. "In fact, we would see them up and working on the lines. The local Puerto Rican electrical agency was not able to meet the requirements, hence, the need for an outside group to come and do it, but then, when the media got a hold of this, it just blew this thing up, and, in my opinion at least, it's unfortunate, because it has further delayed the availability of much needed power."
Marghella says the situation on Puerto Rico has actually become worse since the Whitefish Energy contract was canceled in late October.
"It is still impacting on the healthcare infrastructure and, while we saw some progress in the immediate four weeks after the disaster, those have come back probably in the last three weeks, into a worsened condition now," Marghella said. "So, when you see organizations like [Whitefish Energy] that can step in after disasters this big and do something that makes a difference - those people should be applauded, not impugned."
Marghella says many of Puerto Rico’s hospitals did not have back-up power and that the lack of power makes modern medicine nearly impossible to deliver. He noted that technological advancements like Electronic Health Records became a hindrance when hospitals didn’t have paper records to back them up when the power went out.