SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany, April 6, 2020 —
The 52nd Medical Group is supporting the base by continually providing critical services while combating the spread of COVID-19. The 52nd MDG provides medical and dental services to keep Airmen from the 52nd Fighter Wing ready to ‘fight tonight’, but also maintains medical tools essential to combat Coronavirus.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgts. Neekia Williams, a 52nd MDG biomedical equipment technician, Jonathon Morrison, 52nd MDG NCO of medical maintenance, and Heather Merrill, 52nd MDG biomedical equipment technician, discussed their unit’s importance to the mission during the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We fix medical and dental equipment,” said Merrill. “The functionality and cleanliness during this time is crucial. Anything that the doctors touch to care for patients, whether it breaks or needs regular maintenance and cleaning, we come in and take care of it.”
A typical day for a biomedical equipment technician consists of checking the clinic to see what needs to be fixed or cleaned, however Morrison said this pandemic has caused some challenges.
“We have had to split up teams due to the virus,” said Morrison. “Since we are in every single department we have to be extra careful with the cleanliness of the equipment and ensuring we are keeping up with our hygiene.”
Merrill also described certain difficulties working through this pandemic.
“A lot of times what we do is we will go around with our tool bags and walk around to all the different sections of the hospital,” said Merrill. “However, because of COVID-19 we need to be more aware of cleanliness and being around other people. This takes cooperation from other members of the department and it is difficult to figure out what is wrong with the equipment if we can’t be in the same room together.”
Merrill said split-up teams are their biggest challenge.
“A lot of times we bounce ideas off each other,” she said. “Because of COVID-19, we have to be put on different shifts to continue physical distancing, so it makes it more difficult to get ideas from each other.”
Despite the adversity caused by a global pandemic, Williams said they are all staying on top of what they can and are remaining vigilant.
“Without their equipment ready to go, physicians cannot do their job,” said Williams. “If I am not diligent in what I do, with making sure the equipment is safe for patients, they cannot provide the patients the care they need.”
Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the Spangdahlem Air Base website.