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‘Unnerved by what I saw’

Community Health Center employee assists with post-hurricane care in N.Y. neighborhood

GREENFIELD — An employee of Community Health Center of Franklin County spent two days in Queens, N.Y. earlier this month, helping perform a door-to-door evaluation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the center said in a release.

Amy Jacobson, a 62-year-old physician assistant for the health center, visited the Queens neighborhood of Far Rockaway on Sunday, Nov. 11 and Monday, Nov. 12.

She was joined by her 20-year-old daughter, Allie Jacobson, and a team of others deployed to the area in the “Occupy Sandy” movement — an offshoot of “Occupy Wall Street” that organizes aid for hurricane victims.

According to Jacobson’s account, as stated in the release, workers traveled to each neighborhood door, assessing the needs of those inside and providing medical assistance if necessary. She also came equipped with medical supplies and winter clothing items to hand out to people in need.

“I was unnerved by what I saw,” said Jacobson in the release. “The need is so great there and the news gives you (a) little snap shot, but to see the expanse and hear the needs from people was very overwhelming.”

Jacobson saw one woman who was living in apartment with walls covered in mold. The woman could not breathe and had a heart rate of 125. Jacobson sent her to the hospital, fearing she may have pneumonia.

At another house, they found an 8-year-old boy with asthma who was running low on medication. Without electricity, the mother was using a small battery-powered generation to give her son breathing treatment.

“The boy’s mother, who was trying to get treatment for her son, was dismissing her own health care needs,” said Jacobson. “She had a history of a heart attack in the past and had been having some chest pain but had no nitroglycerin.”

Jacobson, a Florence woman who originally hails from Long Island, shared the stories with her colleagues at the health center. Allie Jacobson said that there are no immediate plans for a return trip but that another could occur in the future.

(Jessica (Striebel) MacLean, formerly of Gill, and Simon MacLean, NMH alumni, are working to help the folks in Long Island. See a video of their efforts HERE.

You can reach Chris Shores at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 264


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