“This is what the military community is all about,” Dr. Givens says. “This was a resource that was going to waste. This hospital is giving an opportunity to employ these folks and change the paradigm of military medics who leave the service.”
Adds Kemplin, “This is a good opportunity to showcase the incredible clinical expertise of Special Operations medics, whose skills and acumen are really not known in the civilian medical world.”
The hospital admitted its first six COVID patients on Tuesday, while the team also practiced drills and got up to speed with NewYork-Presbyterian systems. Between 75 and 100 additional patients are expected to be admitted over the week. A handful of more seriously ill patients were also admitted at the Riverview Terrace site.
“We wanted to ramp up from a handful of patients to make sure our process for moving patients to the field hospital from our campuses worked well and was safe,” says Paul Dunphey, chief operating officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital. “The field hospital is allowing us to expand our capacity to treat lower acuity covid positive patients, which enables us to increase ICU capacity at our other hospital campuses.”
The project is remarkable for the speed with which it has come together. “About a week ago, the field was still soccer turf,” says Joe Ienuso, group senior vice president for facilities and real estate at NewYork-Presbyterian. Now the 90,000-square-foot space has protective flooring and has been outfitted with electricity, oxygen ports, plumbing, and other critical equipment.
The field hospital is named for decorated Navy SEAL Ryan F. Larkin (1987–2017), who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Everyone who knew Ryan commented on what a caring person he was,” says Kemplin. “He was exactly the kind of person who would have set up a tent to treat patients, if he were alive today.”
“This entire effort is really NewYork-Presbyterian at its best,” Ienuso says. “It’s always about serving the community first, and this is a very good example of that.”
Dr. Hill adds, “When you combine two groups of professionals for whom courage, selflessness, and service are a way of life, ‘extraordinary’ happens!”