Department of Defense Medical Team leaving Rapides Regional, heading back home to Virginia

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 4:15 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - During the fourth wave of the Delta surge, a Department of Defense Medical Team was requested by leadership at Rapides Regional to assist with COVID-19 patients.

On Thursday, October 28, the active-duty military members said goodbye to Alexandria at a farewell breakfast and awards ceremony, before heading back home to Virginia.

The medical team, comprised of 13 nurses, four doctors and a couple of respiratory therapists, has been stationed at Rapides Regional since August. The team has been providing care to the influx of COVID-19 patients.

When the team first arrived, there were over 60 patients diagnosed with coronavirus. As of Thursday, Rapides Regional Chief Nursing Officer Barbara Griffin said there is now a total of seven COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

Keith Wright, a doctor and captain in the U.S. Air Force, said he’s thankful for the opportunity to help people here in Louisiana as they go through some of the hardest times of their life.

“It’s an honor and privilege to be here, taking care of people during some of their hardest and darkest times and it’s very mentally and emotionally taxing. We appreciate the opportunity to provide relief for the workers here,” said Wright.

Griffin said she and the rest of the medical team at Rapides Regional are thankful for the DOD’s help.

“Really and truly they were phenomenal and they just lent that extra hand that we needed so desperately in August when the numbers were so high with COVID. They were gracious, they were great to work with, they were very skilled and just anything that was asked of them, they did.”

In addition to the team at Rapides Regional, the DOD housed a team in Lafayette and one in Baton Rouge. The team at Rapides Regional is the last to head home.

The goal was to get them back to Virginia by Halloween, so that they can spend the holiday with their families.

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