Coronavirus

Navy team to assist IU Health Methodist Hospital ‘in areas of greatest need’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH-TV) — An Indiana University Health spokesperson on Tuesday said a team of Navy medical specialists will assist a local hospital for about a month.

News 8 initially reported the news on Monday.

U.S. Army North, which is responsible for all land operations in North America, announced this week two teams each consisting of 20 Navy medical specialists will deploy to Bellin Hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

The teams will consist of doctors, nurses and respiratory specialists.

Lisa Tellus, an IU Health spokesperson, said the hospital asked for federal help due to the strain on staff from a combination of COVID and non-COVID hospitalizations. More than 3,000 Hoosiers were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, the state’s coronavirus dashboard says. Those patients account for more than a third of the beds in intensive care units in use across the state.

Tellus said in a statement the military personnel will “be integrated into medical units at IU Health Methodist in areas of greatest need.”

This week’s deployment brings to 12 the total number of active-duty military medical teams deployed to U.S. hospitals.

The Indiana National Guard already was assisting at most of IU Health’s hospitals.

Col. Martin O’Donnell, public affairs director for U.S. Army North, said the deployments take the pressure off beleaguered local medical staff, especially around the holidays.

“Obviously, it’s difficult for these servicemembers to be deployed away from their families, but, at the same time, there is a need,” he said. “I know that will be especially meaningful at this time.”

O’Donnell said whenever a state requests federal assistance, it is up to the Federal Emergency Management Agency what form the aid takes and from where in the federal government it comes, be it civilian or military.

Tellus said the sailors will be in place for about 30 days beginning later this week.