During the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact on life-saving care, the well-being of front-line workers and health systems could be felt, said US Army Lt. James Kirlin, a nurse who's deployed to support these front-line workers.
The last Department of Defense military medical team providing clinical services in response to the Covid-19 crisis concludes its clinical mission on Tuesday with more than 65 percent of the US population fully immunized and hospitalizations from Covid-19 near their lowest point in its history.
Karlin's team of about 25 individuals was deployed to Salt Lake City on March 5 to support the University of Utah Hospital staff and patients. It will be a special "clap out" for the staff.
A US Army North spokesperson says the military conducted the first wide-ranging medical deployment in the country in response to a public health crisis.
Both patients and visitors probably assumed Kirlin, 38, and his other military buddies were regular hospital staff. They assisted with the care of severe cases in emergency rooms, including pediatric car crash victims and patients already due for surgery.
Being a part of the team that's continuing to educate our country about this problem we've been having the last few years has been a rewarding experience."
"We will stand ready."
First military medical responders arrived in NYC in spring 2020, setting up temporary medical centers for people sick with Coronavirus-19.
A growing pandemic prompted the United States military to deploy medical personnel from treatment facilities across the country to treat patients at hospitals overwhelmed with patients and short of staff.
As a result, the support teams weren't a precursor of a health emergency so much as an indicator that the burden of disease was high in the health care settings at that time, Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, explained in an email.
With the release of the Coronavirus vaccine, military personnel was deployed to assist with administering injections and other pandemic response efforts.
Additionally, military members were deployed to help with response efforts in hard-hit communities after the Delta and Omicron waves.
The teams we have are not being requested to draw down the last team," Quillian said.
"These hospitals don't need just Covid help.
The last Navy team helped staff the University of Utah Hospital, letting them open beds and reschedule surgeries that were put on hold during the Covid-19 surge.
It is clear that when we come into these hospitals, they use us entirely according to our practice, and we are full-time contributors to their health care team," Kirlin said. The military personnel provides support to the hospital doctors, nurses, and other staff members who have worked nonstop for two years through the emotional and physical toll of the epidemic.
We can't just help Covid. Covid has done a lot to their facilities," Kirlin said. "I don't think it's a secret that we have an acute nursing shortage in this country right now, and doctors are under severe shortages, too.". Some of the things that Covid has supplanted in the past two years are cancer screenings and elective surgeries.".
'Nothing less than traumatic'
According to the White House, most of the medical team ending their deployment in Utah this week will be their first mission to support a civilian hospital.
Another third of the team worked in Farmington, New Mexico in January and February.
In his emergency room in New Mexico, Kirlin said that he would witness events that he would not usually see in his military employment. "Unfortunately, I've been involved in several serious car accidents involving kids.
Kirlin said he met people who could count five to ten people they knew who died of Covid-19.
Kirlin's story reflects the experiences of many individuals across the country.
We in County and City Health aren't done with Covid-19 just yet.
She indicated that in the morning of the pandemic's Alpha, Delta, and Omicron waves, these teams helped alleviate hospital and health care staff burdens. "The country, in the interest of public health preparedness and response, needs to be prepared to use effective strategies from the past if another variant causes a deleterious effect on local communities ability to treat COVID patients.
The future is full of unknowns, Kirlin said.
His deployment is complete, and he will be returning home to Poulsbo, Washington, to rest before starting a mission in Djibouti in July.