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Sparrow Hospital welcomes military medical team to help with COVID-19 response

Several members of the U.S. Army team deployed to Lansing's Sparrow hospital sit in uniform in white and green chairs in a room with large open windows at the hospital. Everyone is wearing a mask. The team is there listening to a welcome message from Sparrow Health Systems CEO & President James Dover.
Courtesy of Sparrow Health Systems
Members of the U.S. Army are greeted at Sparrow Hospital by president and CEO James Dover.

Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital welcomed military medical personnel over the weekend. The team is assisting with the health system’s fourth COVID-19 surge.

More than 25 members of the U.S. Army arrived at the hospital Saturday morning. They will be supporting the hospital’s healthcare staff for the next 30 days.

Colonel Dale Jackson works with state authorities to coordinate Department of Defense response in the area. He says the staff at Sparrow has been struggling since November to keep up with demand.

“Some of the employees here have been working tirelessly, day after day. By us coming in we can continue to help the hospital care for the community, open up some additional beds, make sure the services are there," he said.

Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin represents Michigan’s 8th Congressional District. She worked to help get a U.S. Army team deployed to the hospital.

"They're coming in to protect our patients, of course, but also to give some relief to our nurses and doctors, our hospital staff, who have just put their lives on hold, literally, in order to serve the patients here because they're mission oriented," she added.

So far, 80% of patients who have died at Sparrow due to COVID-19 have been unvaccinated and the rest have only been partially vaccinated against the virus. James Dover, the president and CEO of Sparrow Health System, says on any given day the hospital is seeing between 50 to 60 patients waiting for a bed in the E.R.

“So we'll be reopening up one of our closed units that we had to close due to lack of staff in order to decompress the emergency room, the emergency room has been completely impacted during this time period," he explained.

Dover says the health system plans to ask the Department of Defense for an additional 30 days of support before the end of the month. The medical team includes doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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