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    Mercy’s MSC Bands Together for Success

    USNS Mercy Sailors Pose for a Photo

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Erwin Jacob Miciano | 200507-N-VI515-1001 LOS ANGELES (May 7, 2020) Medical Service Corps officers aboard...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L. Greenberg 

    Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet           

    LOS ANGELES — Unit cohesion is commonly regarded as critical to mission success, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, directorates aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), led by officers from the Navy’s Medical Service Corps (MSC), banded together to treat Los Angeles-area patients.
    Since its inception August 4, 1947, the MSC has emphasized working together to achieve a common goal.
    MSC Sailors can be found in most of the directorates aboard Mercy. These officers came from both active duty and reserve components across the nation to work on this mission, including a team of nine mental health specialists who embarked Mercy to facilitate care to all hands.
    “We provided stress mitigation and resiliency training and guided meditation classes to enhance emotional health and wellness for the Mercy crew,” said Cmdr. Joshua Kenton, from San Diego, Mercy’s mental health department head and MSC psychologist. “We also facilitated adaptive, skill-building techniques focused around themes like mindfulness, peer support and the reframing of negative thoughts. Resources to help service members connect with mental health professionals were utilized throughout the mission.”
    Kenton, who is assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), said that collaborative relationships with the embarked Navy chaplains helped support outreach efforts and identified those in need who would benefit from mental health assistance.
    Mercy’s fully-operational blood bank directly contributed to mission success as well.
    “We have provided blood that was needed during two of the surgeries aboard the ship,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Messick, from Fort Wayne, Ind., Mercy’s blood bank division officer. “Hospital corpsmen assigned [to the blood bank] were able to learn new skills that they may not have been exposed to at their parent commands.”
    Messick, also assigned to NMCSD, said his team amplified Mercy’s blood bank capabilities during the deployment to Los Angeles. MSC officers found innovative solutions through high-velocity learning, delivering healthcare where it is needed most.
    “We brought aboard antibody detection capabilities for blood group antigens, which is something that was previously unavailable aboard Mercy,” said Messick. “We brought the skills, knowledge and necessary equipment from NMCSD.”
    MSC officers, as healthcare professionals, encompass every facet of patient care.
    “The pharmacy supported the mission by stocking and dispensing medications,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jose Pulido, from La Joya, Texas, Mercy’s pharmacy department head. “We dispensed 5,027 oral doses for inpatient operations and 1,608 discharge prescriptions.”
    In regard to maintaining currency, Pulido credited on-the-job training and real-world experience as contributing elements. He said this deployment afforded both him and his Sailors time to train. He added that the deployment allowed them to immerse themselves in training and to hone the elements and skills needed to be able to deploy in support of the warfighter and future, real-world missions.
    Without critical supplies, Mercy’s treatment capabilities would be diminished.
    “The supply directorate coordinated the purchase and delivery of 40 new, critical care beds to augment intensive care unit bed capacity, greatly enhancing critical-care capability,” said MSC officer Lt. Zainob Andu, from Chicago, Mercy’s assistant supply officer.
    She said that 212 supply directorate Sailors operated the ship’s galley, store, barbershop, laundry services, disbursing office, biomedical repair and post office. Multiple warehouses and storerooms, as well as tailored, patient dietary services, were manned and controlled by supply personnel, contributing to mission success.
    Mercy deployed in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts, and serves as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows shore base hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases. One of the Department of Defense's missions is Defense Support of Civil Authorities. DOD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people.



    Date Taken: 05.09.2020
    Date Posted: 05.09.2020 17:26
    Story ID: 369649
    Location: LOS ANGELES, CA, US 

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