Brooke Army Medical Center to transfer pediatric patients to preserve COVID effort

“We took a similar posture during the summer COVID surge.”

A 59th Medical Wing Pediatric Critical Care Air Transport Team provides care to a five-month-old patient on board a C-17 Globemaster III headed to California, Oct. 9, 2020. The patient and his family were traveling from the neonatal intensive care unit in Hawaii to Texas. Contributed photo.
A 59th Medical Wing Pediatric Critical Care Air Transport Team provides care to a five-month-old patient on board a C-17 Globemaster III headed to California, Oct. 9, 2020. The patient and his family were traveling from the neonatal intensive care unit in Hawaii to Texas. Contributed photo. (Brooke Army Medical Center)

In an effort to preserve staffing and resources in the midst of the pandemic, the Brooke Army Medical Center has announced it will transfer new pediatric patients needing inpatient care to local children’s hospitals at this time.

“We are taking this additional precautionary measure to ensure our healthcare professionals are poised to support an increased need for COVID-19 care for our service members and families,” said Air Force Col. Patrick Osborn, San Antonio Military Health System surgeon-in-chief and BAMC’s deputy commander for surgical services.

Pediatric patients will still be evaluated and treated in the BAMC Emergency Department.

However, if an inpatient admission is required, the patient will be transferred to a community hospital, Osborn said. Current pediatric inpatients and outpatient pediatric services will be unaffected, Osborn added.

“We have coordinated with all of the major health systems in town to ensure a smooth transfer and continuity of care for our pediatric patients needing inpatient services,” Osborn said.

Some BAMC pediatric specialists and surgeons train in local children’s hospitals through a resource sharing agreement, he said, which has further reinforced these relationships and ability to quickly implement changes.

“We took a similar posture during the summer COVID surge,” Osborn said. “This experience helps to drive our decisions as we work to ensure we are able to fully support our service members, military families and community trauma patients.”

BAMC also recently began delaying many non-urgent, elective surgical cases, particularly those requiring an overnight stay.

“We have had to adopt this posture twice since the pandemic started, and we have shown the agility to quickly reopen elective surgical access once conditions warrant,” Osborn said.

BAMC will continue to assess conditions daily and adjust as needed.

“We greatly appreciate everyone’s patience and support as we work to ensure everyone’s safety,” Osborn said.

RELATED: Brooke Army Medical Center takes in trauma patients to help free up beds at other SA hospitals