Respiratory therapists deploy from Arizona to Colorado to treat COVID-19 patients
GREELEY, Colo. (April 12, 2020) – While they've utilized their skills to treat patients in the Phoenix area who contracted the novel coronavirus, four respiratory therapists deployed this weekend to help their fellow Banner Health team members in northern Colorado, which has seen a large number of patients with COVID-19. They will be in Greeley, Colo., for at least two weeks—some opting to stay at least four weeks, based on need—to help Banner balance its staffing needs across the nonprofit health care provider's six-state footprint.
Jessica Stingle said she's treated several patients with COVID-19 at her Arizona facility, Banner Boswell Medical Center in Sun City, and that's prepared her to help her colleagues in northern Colorado.
"Every case seems to be a little different," she said. "We care for these people and make sure they are getting the best care they possibly can from us and our nursing staff. We work one-on-one with the nurses and physicians."
Stingle and three others flew up this weekend from Phoenix to Greeley, about 60 miles north of Denver, aboard a private charter jet donated by Swift Aviation.
"The community has always been good to us," said Jerry Moyes, founder, chairman and CEO of Phoenix-based Swift Transportation, at the previous medical team's departure March 29. "When I heard what they are doing, what they are going through—the sacrifice—it made it pretty easy for us to volunteer and make it much easier for them to fly up private."
The private flight keeps Banner team members isolated from the general public, allows them to arrive at North Colorado Medical Center (NCMC) faster and devote more time to patient care.
"I'm excited to go and help them and be there for our team because we are all one," Stingle said.
The four respiratory therapists arrived as five registered nurses returned to the Phoenix area after a two-week assignment. They were part of a team of 10 registered nurses that arrived in Greeley March 29, including Jessica Flake.
Flake treated patients with COVID-19 in the progressive care unit, which is one degree of care below the intenstive care unit. During the pandemic, ICU is being reserved for patients who must be intubated, which is where a ventilator takes over breathing operations for the patient.
"They can change within minutes," she said. "You are continuously monitoring these patients, and they change so quickly. Multiple patients can change on you within minutes."
Flake and her colleagues who returned to Phoenix this weekend will resume duties at their assigned hospitals this week. Five others remain at NCMC for at least another two weeks to assist with patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
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Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com.