Military team lends a helping hand to CRMC staff amid pandemic

The troops are expected to remain at the hospital through at least mid- February.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With most hospitals running low on ICU capacity, just as staff continues to get inundated with COVID-19 patients, medical military troops have joined the effort of providing relief at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno.

"They're not all taking care of only COVID patients. They fill the needs where we have the needs and they're more than willing to participate in any form of patient care that's justified," said CRMC Chief Medical and Quality Officer, Jeff Thomas.

This set of troops, made up of 20 nurses and medics, has been making rounds at the hospital since December.

The Department of Defense sent a similar team when COVID cases surged at the end of summer as well.

"When we first got here, the nursing staff, they were tired, you could tell they were tired. But their spirit wasn't broken, they were still fighting," said Air Force nurse Dylan McGuire.

First Lieutenant McGuire is a critical care nurse stationed at Travis Air Force Base and says he's grateful for the opportunity to help patients while alleviating some of the burden on hospital staff while he's here.

"It's tough, its tough times - things like this and things like us coming to help have really given them a bit of a boost," said McGuire.

Community Medical Centers continue to care for more than 300 coronavirus patients.

The troops also helped convert some of the unused areas of the hospital into patient care wards.

"I think these folks are particularly skilled and talented at being able to jump right in and assume a position, work with what they have and learn on the fly without compromising the safety to our patients and the quality of care we're used to providing," said Thomas.

The troops are expected to remain at the hospital through at least mid- February.
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