Mass. National Guard begin hospital deployment as cases surge

Coronavirus

BROCKTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Hundreds of National Guardsmen in Massachusetts got a crash course in clinical care as they’re deployed to help understaffed and overcrowded medical centers in the state.

Roughly 500 guardsmen are trading in their camo for scrubs for at least the next 90 days as they take on non-clinical jobs to assist health care workers.

“They’re going to be really operating the ambulance, helping with loading the stretcher, and moving patients from one bed to another that sort of thing,” Brewster Ambulance Director of Operations Domenic Corey said.

On Tuesday, workers from Brewster Ambulance helped guardsmen learn how to navigate ambulances through tight spaces on a course in Brockton.

The class also taught guard members how to operate stretchers and how and where to access other tools.

EMTs and paramedics also refreshed the guardsmen on their CPR skills as they won’t just be taking their newfound skills on the road. Some guardsmen will also serve inside hospitals to offer relief to burnt-out workers.

“They’re going through a really tough time right now. This is emotionally challenging. It’s the third wave they’ve gone through and they are getting tired,” Chief Nursing Officer at Emerson Hospital Mark Mahnfeldt said.

Those in the medical field say the help is needed for three reasons: a shortage of EMTs, longer drive times to the hospital, and an influx of sick patients, both COVID and non.

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