Exclusive: Military Medical Team Saying Goodbye After Helping Community With COVID Surge

Exclusive: Military Medical Team Saying Goodbye After Helping Community With COVID Surge

Kitty Alvarado Connect

The 60th Air Wing Medical Group from Travis Air Force Base is going home after a six week mission to help the staff at Eisenhower Health deal with an overwhelming COVID-19 surge. 

The mission was originally four weeks but it was extended two weeks.

“The mission to help the staff here at Eisenhower has been accomplished,” says Captain Tyler Padgett, who is also a doctor, adding that this time has been rewarding, “it feels incredible … to be a part of the massive team here at Eisenhower to come and join hands and create a front against the crisis.” 

 The team of 21 arrived at the Rancho Mirage hospital when they had to expand beyond their normal capacity.

“I can’t even begin to describe what the hospital was going through we had at our peak more than 90 cases on average in the hospital with COVID-19, we had opened three nursing units, plus critical care beds,” says Ann Mostofi, RN, the chief nursing officer and VP of patient care services at Eisenhower Health, adding, “we were really stretched, stressed and our nurses were exhausted.”

Our intensive care unit had occupied two ICUs (intensive care units) for COVID patients that had created a huge burden for the staff at Eisenhower,” says Tina Wallum, RN, the director of nursing and critical care and dialysis at Eisenhower, she says they also added critical care areas.

But as the team leaves, the hospital has an average of 30 COVID-19, patients and one ICU with five patients, down from 16.  

“We’re staffed quite well right now, they came at the perfect time … they’re remarkable,” says Wallum. 

The staff is grateful for the courage they showed in stepping up to fight a deadly virus and help a community in need. 

“To see that this team really had no hesitation they really are self sacrificing, it really is a tribute to our military,” says Mostofi.

The team will have to quarantine for 14 days when they get home.

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