EL PASO, Texas -- Three separate teams of 20 military medical providers with the U.S. Air Force have now been in the Borderland for over a week providing support for fatigued medical staff.
1st Lt. Ian Krug, a critical care nurse who is also an active-duty soldier with the Air Force, deployed to El Paso on a 30-day mission.
“Its been a rollercoaster up and down, I mean that is no secret. All the way across the nation, what I can tell you is that - especially being military - we are always prepared to act right at a moment's notice and that is exactly what we are doing here,” Krug said.
Krug was slated to deploy to the Middle East earlier this year, the outbreak of Covid-19 put an end to those plans. Instead, he is now serving alongside civilian medical workers, and he tells ABC-7 they have all come together as a team.
“Its been an absolutely incredible experience and to be honest with you they’ve really integrated our team to their system, really well since day one. We’ve been a family and it has been nothing but an absolutely great experience here at UMC," Krug said.
Krug along with the other military members deployed to El Paso were sent here as part of the U.S. Department Of Defense's response to the surge in cases of Covid-19.
Other medical staff has also made their way to the Borderland, some on a voluntary basis - including Misty Huffman, a respiratory therapist. She has spent time in New York during their surge and is hoping to accomplish something here she couldn't do there.
“I would like to have one person come off that ventilator and survive for me, because I have not had that, I have been chasing this for months and I have not had one person survive coming off a ventilator and that’s hard because our job is to get people off the ventilator,” Huffman said.
This is now the sixth Covid-19 assignment for Huffman and she tells ABC-7 that she doesn't have time to let fear of the virus stop her from doing her work.
“This is what we do. I’m going to keep myself safe, I’m going to follow the guidelines, I am going to treat it as airborne. If somebody gets it, it's unfortunate with the exposure, but I do everything I can to keep myself safe because it’s my job,” Huffman explained.