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'Having a medic there to help out is huge': Houston Medical Center takes advantage of help from National Guard

They'll be helping throughout the week during the emergency room's peak hours.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — One Central Georgia hospital welcomed National Guard members this week.

Governor Brian Kemp deployed National Guard members to help with understaffed hospitals.

Houston Medical Center welcomed 20 members this week.

"It is an emergency. This is a situation where we need help," Terri Williams said.

Williams oversees the hospital's emergency department, and she says staffing is a challenge, so they need the extra help.

"These patients are critical. They're sick; and then with nursing shortages and school opening back up and staff having children that are sick, we appreciate trained personnel coming in and being able to assist us," Williams said.

National Guard members are helping staff the emergency room and the overflow tents set up outside.

Williams said, "They can do IVs, draw blood, treatments as far as bandages, just help with patient flow."

In addition, they can help make family phone calls and take patients' registration information when they arrive.

Out of the 20 National Guard members, five of them are medics and four of them are military police.

"That is tremendous with our nurses, because sometimes, they're being to their capacity as far as nurse to patients ratio, so having a medic there to help out is huge," Williams said.

They'll be helping throughout the week during the emergency room's peak hours.

Williams said, "Just going through the whole pandemic, this is our fourth go-around and it's different. Each wave has not been the same. We are open to any help we can get in the emergency room."

Now, they're not expecting anymore medics, but they could receive more national guard admins.

So far, Piedmont, Navicent, and Atrium have not received any guard members.

Atrium is expected to receive some later this week.

The arrival of these National Guard personnel comes after Governor Kemp signed a new executive order Monday.

Last week, the governor announced more than 100 members would deploy to help hospitals across the state. 

Monday's order bumped that number up. 

It allows for the deployments of up to 2,500 National Guard troops. 

The new order also loosens transportation rules, allowing trucks to carry more weight.

This helps get more equipment to hospitals and fuel to gas stations across the state.


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