PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A team of military doctors, nurses and other medical professionals will begin providing critical assistance at Rhode Island Hospital this weekend amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The 23-person team, deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will spend the next two days getting acquainted with the hospital, as well as its policies and electronic health record system.
This comes just days after another 14-person military medical team arrived at Kent Hospital to support its emergency department and medical/surgical unit.
The military medical team consists of the following: one internal medicine doctor, one pulmonologist/intensive care doctor, one physician’s assistant, one emergency physician, two emergency room nurses, 11 critical care nurses, one medical/surgical nurse, two respiratory technicians and a three-person “command and control” team.
Director of Inpatient Critical Care and Respiratory Services Janine Pedersen, who will be overseeing the military medical team during their time at Rhode Island Hospital, said they will be primarily assisting staff in the Respiratory Intermediate Care Unit.
Pedersen also said the medical team will not be donning military fatigues throughout their time at Rhode Island Hospital. Instead, they will blend in with hospital staff.
“They have background experience in medical ICUs, trauma ICUs and neurological ICUs, so they will bring a wealth of knowledge to the bedside,” Pedersen said.
In addition to providing relief, Pedersen said the team’s arrival will “breathe life into the unit.”
“I think when we look at bed capacity, each bed means each person’s life,” Pedersen explained. “If we can open one, two, three, four, five or six beds, that means we can support a patient’s life and give someone an opportunity for quality care.”
The military medical team will be working in Rhode Island for 30 days.