The Pentagon Is Preparing For The Next Pandemic

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  • That nurse’s mission was to get urgent care for her patient.
  • The size of the teams ranges from small to medium.
  • Team members coming off difficult shifts often needed someone to talk to.

A COVID-19 patient was having trouble breathing. The Army nurse was well aware that she needed to act immediately as reported by Military Times.

Army medical team

It was the peak of this year’s omicron surge and an Army medical team was helping in a Michigan hospital.

But the nurse heard of an open spot in an overflow treatment area, so she and another team member raced the gurney across the hospital to claim the space first, denting a wall in their rush.

He’s going to get the treatment he needs.

That nurse’s mission was to get urgent care for her patient.

Their experiences, said Gen. Glen VanHerck, will help shape the size and staffing of the military’s medical response so the Pentagon can provide the right types and numbers of forces needed for another pandemic, global crisis or conflict.

Fewer patients needed non-coronavirus care than expected, and hospitals were still overwhelmed by the pandemic.

Additional treatment 

A more agile approach emerged: having military medical personnel step in for exhausted hospital staff members or work alongside them in additional treatment areas in unused spaces.

VanHerck told The Associated Press his command is rewriting pandemic and infectious disease plans, and planning wargames and other exercises to determine if the U.S. has the right balance of military medical staff in the active duty and reserves.

The size of the teams ranges from small to medium.

Dr Kencee Graves, inpatient chief medical officer at the University of Utah Hospital, said the facility finally decided to seek help this year because it was postponing surgeries to care for all the COVID-19 patients and closing off beds because of staff shortages.

Her mantra became, “All I can do is show up and hope it’s helpful.”

She added, “And I just did that day after day after day for two years.”

Pop-up hospitals

Atienza, a family physician who’s been in the military for 21 years, spent the Christmas holiday deployed to a hospital in New Mexico, and then went to Salt Lake City in March.

Over time, he said, the military “has evolved from things like pop-up hospitals” and now knows how to integrate seamlessly into local health facilities in just a couple of days.

That integration helped the hospital staff recover and catch up.

We did not call a backup physician this month for the hospital team … that’s the first time that’s happened in several months.

VanHerck said the pandemic also underscored the need to review the nation’s supply chain to ensure that the right equipment and medications were being stockpiled or to see if they were coming from foreign distributors.

VanHerck said the U.S. is also working to better analyze trends to predict the needs for personnel, equipment and protective gear.

Mental health

The need for mental health care for the military personnel also became apparent.

Team members coming off difficult shifts often needed someone to talk to.

For the civilian hospitals, the lesson was knowing when to call for help.

“It was the bridge to help us get out of omicron and in a position where we can take good care of our patients,” Graves said. 

“I am not sure how we would have done that without them.”

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Source: Military Times 

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