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‘I’m thankful to be here helping the city’: BAMC critical care nurse working on front lines in El Paso

Military medical personnel helping overwhelmed hospitals in El Paso

EL PASO, Texas – A San Antonio medical team is providing care in El Paso after the U.S. Department of Defense deployed 60 medical personnel members as coronavirus cases surged in the city.

The U.S. Air Force and Army medical personnel are from JBSA-Lackland, Joint Base Andrews, Keesler Air Force Base, Eglin Air Force Base, Fort Carson and Fort Dietrich.

“It’s no secret that this COVID-19 virus has sort of swept the nation at a critical status here in El Paso,” said First Lt. Ian Krug, a U.S. Air Force critical care nurse.

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Krug is part of the team supporting hospitals in El Paso. He arrived in the border city on Nov. 6.

“What we’re doing here with myself and my team at University Medical Center is providing the absolute best medical care that we can,” Krug said.

Krug, originally from Detroit, was stationed at Brooke Army Medical Center in September 2019. This year, he was fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines in San Antonio and cared for critically ill patients. This helped prepare him for what was to come in El Paso.

“What they’re doing is they’re integrating us into the inpatient units -- to the COVID critical care units or emergency departments -- taking direct patient care there,” Krug said.

El Paso reported more than 1,000 patients hospitalized, and more than 300 are in the intensive care unit.

Krug said his schedule is not that different than what he has experienced before.

“It’s very similar to our schedules at home. It’s no secret that medical providers work 12-hour shifts, but they give us ample amounts of rest time to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves,” Krug said.

Krug said he is proud to serve and work with the health care workers who continue to fight COVID-19 and put themselves at risk every day.

“I’m thankful to be here helping the city of El Paso,” Krug said.

Krug said his team is supposed to be in El Paso for 30 days, but it may be longer if hospitalizations continue to surge.

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