Press Release | April 8, 2020

DOD Assists NYC Hospitals with Emergency Patient Transfer

U.S. Northern Command Public Affairs


U.S. Northern Command-directed medical personnel assigned to the Javits New York Medical Station (JNYMS) facilitated the emergency transfer of 18 patients who are critically ill with COVID-19 after a local hospital sent a request for immediate assistance, April 7, 2020. 

New York Emergency Management contacted military medical leaders at JNYMS requesting medical assistance. A team of 37 Soldiers were quickly assembled and moved the patients from two hospitals located in Queens to other medical facilities throughout the city. 

"[The hospitals] had these critically-ill patients that needed to be moved," said Army Maj. Sunnie Murray, assigned to the 9th Hospital Center operating out of the JNYMS. "We got the call around 6 p.m. and had our teams in here and ready to go by 6:35 p.m. I’m very proud of how quickly we got our teams together and the help we were able to provide to relieve the local hospitals." 

The patients were transported in separate ambulances to four locations including three local hospitals and the hospital ship USNS Comfort where they are currently receiving care. 

"This event highlights how seamlessly U.S. Northern Command’s medical teams are integrated into the larger New York City hospital system," said General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, U.S. Northern Command commander. "The New York City hospital system is using all its capacity and capabilities- including our military hospitals and personnel -- to save lives and we could not be more proud to be a part of the whole-of-America effort." 

"Last evening the USNS Comfort team was pushed to the limit as we received 10 critically-ill, intubated patients from a local hospital in two-and-a-half hours," said Capt. Patrick Amersbach, commanding officer of the USNS Comfort military treatment facility. "I am incredibly proud of my team and the support staff that enabled us to complete our mission—taking the burden off the New York City hospital system." 

Army Sgt. Lavenia Stanly, a respiratory therapist assigned to the 9th Hospital Center, said it was a chance to do what she has been trained by the Army to do, and to give back to the community. 

"Overall it was an amazing opportunity, and it’s really what we’re here for," she said. "I’m really proud and honored to be a part of the team that went out to help with the local hospitals." 

U.S. Northern Command is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist the New York hospital system and others across the nation’s hardest hit areas. The continued mobilization of manpower and capability to respond to need will provide much-needed relief to New York City and the State of New York as long as it is needed. 

JNYMS, which has been operational and caring for non-COVID-19 patients since March 30, began providing medical care for patients with the virus April 3. Also initially tasked with providing care to non-COVID patients, USNS Comfort began taking COVID-positive patients on April 6. 

U.S. Northern Command is leading DoD’s operations against COVID-19 in the United States. 


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