The US Department of Defense called in to help overwhelmed Colorado hospitals

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FORT COLLINS, CO (KDVR) – The US Department of Defense is stepping in at local hospitals on Thanksgiving, deploying medical response teams to keep doors open when beds and intensive care units reach capacity.

From combat zones to deploying in uniforms, gas masks, and armor on the critical care floor, 20 members of the Department of Defense Medical Response Team are currently supporting staff at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital.

“They’re helping us out there as an inner hero, really,” said Megan Chatcher, UCHealth Poudre Valley’s ICU charge nurse.

According to UCHealth and US military officials, these response teams will remain for as long as they are needed.

As of Thanksgiving morning, UCHealth Hospitals in Colorado is caring for 399 patients, including 133 in intensive care.

“Nearly 95% of our patients in the critical care setting are not immunized,” said Ryan Roman, chief operating officer at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital. “I would say the light at the end of the tunnel is weaker than it was in the past, and it’s tough.”

The latest capacity numbers at UCHealth Hospitals prompted Rohman and other officials To contact the State and Federal Emergency Management Agency for help.

“It’s a scenario I thought I’d never be in as a hospital director, and I’d be asking the Department of Defense for help and I’d be very grateful that they’re here to help us,” Roman said.

“Our staff is overburdened with work, and there are critical care patients who are taken care of by three and sometimes four nurses,” Chatcher said. “The fact that they can come in and shoot in there and take patients really allows the nurses to get some rest, despite us being there. Instead of taking triples and things like that, they can take some weight off our shoulders and we can breathe a little bit.”

Spread members told FOX31 Thursday that their mission is to serve and support when needed, and they are grateful to be here in Colorado.

“To be able to help, it’s an honor,” said U.S. Army First Lieutenant Anthony Albina.

UCHealth is assisted by another FEMA team at the Rocky Mountain Medical Center in Loveland. Rohman says the team is focusing on him Monoclonal antibody helpThese are lab-made antibodies To help treat covid patients.

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