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Fort Collins hospital staff thankful for troops helping treat COVID patients

Teams from the Department of Defense have arrived at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital to help treat infected patients and relieve stress on doctors and nurses.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Staff at the Colorado hospitals hardest hit by COVID have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Teams from the Department of Defense have arrived to help treat infected patients and relieve stress on the doctors and nurses.

"This is not my first deployment," U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Anthony Albina said. 

"Deployment" is not the word most nurses use to describe going to work.

Albina has treated people in war zones. Now the battle takes him to Fort Collins as part of a Department of Defense medical response team sent to Colorado from Andrews Air Force Base to help ease staffing and capacity challenges at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital.

"I’m a critical care nurse and a critical care flight nurse for the Air Force," Albina said. "The medicine itself doesn’t change too much. It just changes the environment which you practice it and the resources on hand."

On this Thanksgiving, help is worth being thankful for.

"They’re helping us out immensely, and we’re just trying to get through every day," Megan Tschacher, an ICU nurse at Poudre Valley Hospital, said. "They can take some of that weight off of our shoulders and we can kind of breathe a little."

About 20 troops from the Air Force are deployed to Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. They’ll stay there as long as they need to before moving to another hospital that needs their help.

"Wherever the need is, we’re very fortunate to be able to fill it," Albina said. 

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