NewsLafayette Parish


Navy team at OLG provides needed support, unexpected benefits during COVID surge

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Posted at 12:34 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 13:34:48-04

With the Navy Medical Readiness Team being embedded at Ochsner Lafayette General, officials say they have experienced an improvement with COVID response at their hospital.

On Thursday CEO of Ochsner Lafayette General Al Patin and Lt. Commander Tran-Yu provided an update on the team's work and information on OLG's COVID stats.

Patin says since the arrival of the Navy team, Ochsner Lafayette General has experienced a number of changes.

Back in end of July, OLG requested support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as they saw an increased need in workers as COVID ramped up in the region. They were one of five U.S. cities to receive it.

In August, the team arrived expanding Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center's team by four doctors, 14 nurses and two respiratory therapists

These healthcare professionals were onboarded in their facility, adding specially trained workers for the Emergency Department, ICU and Med Surgery.

The week before the Navy arrival, Region 4 had 0 beds available in the state. Patin says that because of this, patients were boarding in the emergency rooms.

"This was the story throughout the state," Patin said. With employees out due to COVID exposure, the team provided necessary help and supported OLGMC, giving care to the most critical patients.

Patin says that today, Ochsner Lafayette General has seen a decrease in COVID positive patients. At their highest point, they had 174 COVID positive patients at their hospitals. As of September 1, 2021, there were now 106 at main hospitals in the Region, with 79 at Ochsner Lafayette General.

Patin said that there is a trend they are seeing in hospital numbers. Over the past several days the COVID cases have begun to plateau. "We are seeing an improvement in the COVID consensus. We believe we are going in the right direction," he said.

The team of 23 soldiers, which has now increased to 27 were sent by the Department of Defense from Bethesda, Maryland.

Lt. Commander Tran-Yu says they have leveraged many of their experiences they have had in the past and are working to impart that level of care into Lafayette. They have also helped in the transport of patients for Ida.

"This has been a wonderful experience," Lt. Commander Tran-Yu said of her time in Lafayette.

Tran-Yu says the team has been well prepared and the work is quite different than what they have had to deal with in other places across the country.

Through their work, OLG has been able to expand critical care space and ICU care. The team has allowed OLG to have more critical care beds, helping to increase capacity and offload patients so they can focus on less critical care patients

Lt. Commander Tran-Yu says the team set up a 12 unit hospital at OLG and it is manned 24/7, Monday through Sunday. Nurses, physicians, and therapist make rounds throughout the hospital to help OLG workers.

Tran-Yu says here team has been learning more about care through Ochsner Lafayette General, adding new skill sets they will use in future missions.

The team will be in Lafayette to support for as long as they are asked to provide service. There is no timeline, they say.

One unforeseen benefit the team has provided was this past weekend with Hurricane Ida. Patin says the hospital was able to accept transfers from the Bayou Region because of the team.

"We had enough capacity and staffing support from those 20 medical personnel," Patin said. "Staffing constraints could have been a different situation. It has been a gift that we did not know or expect."

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