INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Two Navy team members deployed to an Indianapolis hospital say they are happy they were able to relieve the staff there.
Lt Cmdr. Donovan Mabe, a pulmonary and intensive care physician, and Lt. jg Lindsey Rude, an administrative officer, are part of the 20-person US Navy team that deployed to Methodist IU Health Hospital in late December. It’s the second time one has been deployed to a US hospital since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Mabe says he works in the intensive care unit at the hospital. While not exclusively assigned to COVID-19 cases, he says most of the patients he cares for are diagnosed with the disease. He said he got to know the patients individually.
“Everyone is unique,” he said. “I get to know great people as patients and then just meet their families and talk with their families.”
Rude serves as a liaison between the hospital staff and the Navy personnel. She says she helps determine the best use for the Navy team each day and covers any reports that need to be written. She said the hospital staff had been a pleasure to work with.
“Any questions we have, they answer. If there is anything we need they are more than willing to help in any way they can,” she said. “We can definitely feel how much they appreciate us being here to help them.”
Rude has been in the Navy for 9 years and Mabe has served for 10. Both say that when they were first sworn in, they could never have imagined deploying on American soil. Mabe deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2019. He says the environment was much more austere than here in Indianapolis, but he also had a lot more time to prepare — about three months against a week’s notice.
Relief was immediate for hospital staff. Chief Medical Officer Dr Mark Luetkemeyer says when the hospital asked for extra help, it was already using all available space and had rescheduled most elective surgeries. He says a National Guard team of six was already at the hospital but the staff needed more medical personnel. Traveling civilian doctors became harder to find, so the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to send an active-duty military medical team. Luetkemeyer says Navy personnel have been able to take extra shifts, helping retain civilian staff at the hospital.
“The amount of expertise and the quality of these people is just outstanding, and so it’s been a huge boost for our team members,” he said.
Rude and Mabe say they and their team will be at Methodist for at least a month. They said they were willing to stay longer if needed.