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    US Navy, Army Medical Response Team completes COVID fight at Lafayette, Louisiana Hospital

    US Navy, Army Medical Response Team completes COVID fight at Lafayette, Louisiana Hospital

    Photo By Sgt. Richard Barnes | LAFAYETTE, La. -- U.S. Navy Capt. Steven Praske, the chief medical officer assigned to...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes 

    Defense Department Support to FEMA COVID-19       

    LAFAYETTE, La. -- The first-of-three U.S. Department of Defense medical response teams scheduled to end its mission in Louisiana hospitals bid farewell to its civilian-medical counterparts at Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, September 20, 2021.

    The joint U.S. Navy and Louisiana Army National Guard team of 27 medical practitioners and support service members assembled from various military installations across the nation to help the embattled state combat the havoc the coronavirus has inflicted upon its citizens.

    “We took two oaths,” Lt. Cmdr. Diana Tran-Yu, the officer in charge of Medical Response Team 1, Task Force Lafayette said. “One, the Hippocratic oath, which is do no harm. The other oath is to serve and defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic -- even if enemy number one is COVID.”

    According to Tran-Yu, the task force received a 72-hour notification call for the rapid deployment. The medical team’s impact was immediately felt and appreciated by the then overwhelmed hospital staff.

    “You said yes knowing that it removes you from your families and your loved ones because you have a responsibility to our country and we thank you for that,” Al Patin, the chief executive officer of Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center said. “I stood in this lobby on August 18, two months ago, with a much different story to tell.

    “When this team of military healthcare heroes arrived, we had 100 positive COVID-19 patients in this hospital; we had 169 across our region,” he said. “The untold story is how many staff we had out as well. This was an impact on our entire community, our entire region – we were hurting. Never before had we needed outside help to come in and care for our patients."

    The task force deployed under provisions of the Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) process, which allows United States military assets and personnel to assist in missions normally carried out by civil authorities. Each request and its unique set of challenges is vetted to ensure Department of Defense assets are the appropriate solution to the problem.

    “The military was and always is the force we need,” Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said. “This fight is on the home front, fighting this pandemic. A new war, a new battle, but you guys answered the call just like you always do.

    “You’re the key warriors to this battle and you continue to be key warriors," Guillory continued. "As we all continue to fight, we fight on the civilian side, we fight on the healthcare side, we join forces together to beat this enemy – and that’s what we’re [going to] do.”

    According to Patin, the task force treated 67 critical care COVID patients since integrating at the hospital.

    “That’s the number of patients that this medical team touched in the last 60 days,” he said. “Direct patient care, there’s more than that, but directly connected to 67 lives. While that may not seem like a large number, let’s put some context to that math.

    “Our typical patient is here for less than five days in the hospital,” Patin said. “The patients that you care for, an average length of 9.8 days. So, you’ve cared for the most critical of our patients, took that load off our staff, off of our physicians, and allowed us time to heal – [we are] forever grateful to that service.”

    The world-class level of care required continual efforts from the task force as it worked alongside its civilian counterparts to help decrease the number of COVID patients occupying beds in the hospital.

    “This team worked around the clock and put in over 1,500 hours of care for our community,” Patin said. “Today, what was 100 in this hospital is now 17; and what was 169 in our region, is now 21 and you helped us get there.

    The appreciation for lifesaving efforts were mutual between the military and their civilian counterparts. U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. David Johnson received the Disease Attacking the Immune System (DAISY) award for going beyond expectations, always being upbeat, and always being ready to help, according to the DAISY award nomination citation.

    Caroline Stevens, a certified nurse assistant with OLGMC was awarded the Making a Difference Award for her heroics when, according to multiple witnesses, she jumped “into action on October 18, entered into a patient’s room … and discovered a life-threatening arterial bleed.”

    She quickly notified the team and performed lifesaving steps and prevented a highly likely death according to an unattributed hospital surgeon and Tran-Yu.



    Date Taken: 10.20.2021
    Date Posted: 10.26.2021 12:12
    Story ID: 407740
    Location: LAFAYETTE, LA, US 
    Hometown: BETHESDA, MD, US
    Hometown: LAFAYETTE, LA, US

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