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Military help for health care providers arrive in Indy, to assist IU Health Methodist Hospital

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A group of medical professionals from the U.S. Navy has arrived in Indy. Their mission is to ease some of the stress from a COVID surge threatening to overwhelm the health care system.

Here to help in every possible way, that’s the assurance Lt. Commander Micheal Gibbony gave during a news conference with IU Health.

This comes after President Biden announced Tuesday the deployment of medical troops to areas dealing with a sudden surge in COVID-19 patients.

“They’ve already landed in Wisconsin and Indiana this week said, ” Dr. Luetkemeyer said. 

FEMA sent a 20-person team of medical professionals that range in expertise to help treat patients at IU Health.

Lt. Commander Gibbony says this is the teams’ second mission together, and they’re getting ready to work with patients. “We’re working hand in hand with the staff here to learn their system, their procedures, their protocols,” said Lt. Gibbony.

As of Thursday, IU health has a little more than 551 COVID patients statewide and a total of 168 COVID patients at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

Like many healthcare facilities across the state and the country, IU Health has struggled with a lack of resources and staffing during the pandemic.

“We are short, and our providers are tired, said ” Dr. Weaver.

Dr. Chris Weaver says the hospitals’ vaccine requirements are not to blame for the lack of staffing.

Dr. Mark Luetkemeyer says the bulk of the shortage is due to worker burnout.

“Who would have thought that we would have gone through three or four surges?,” said Dr. Luetkemeyer.

The hospital has been in a constant surge since October with the added weight of omicron and the flu season.

“We need help, and that’s what you’re seeing with us reaching out to FEMA and the Department of Defense, ” said Dr. Luetkemeyer.

The U.S Navy members will be at IU Health for a month and may exceed that time if a request to extend help is approved by FEMA and the Department of Defense.