JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Brooke Army Medical Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 5 to officially reopen its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
The unit was designated as adult patient overflow during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now that COVID-19 hospitalizations have reduced, the unit has reopened for pediatric critical care.
The four-bed unit has space for up to six patients and features state-of-the-art equipment and critical care monitoring capabilities.
Brig. Gen. Deydre Teyhen, BAMC commanding general, praised the staff for their dedication and hard work.
“What we are really celebrating is this amazing staff who made this a reality,” Teyhen said. “You guys are special, and I really mean that from the bottom of my heart.”
The general summed up what it takes to excel in pediatrics, saying pediatric caregivers not only have to care for their patients, who sometimes can’t communicate, they also must care for concerned parents.
“A lot of times you are dealing with folks that have such severe challenges that it weighs on your hearts, and it weighs on your souls,” Teyhen said. “You have some of the hardest jobs in this facility.”
Teyhen said PICUs in San Antonio and across the nation have been at capacity and have had to divert pediatric patients.
“Our community healthcare partners rely on military healthcare to provide for our beneficiaries, especially during a time when pediatric nurse numbers are low and bed capacity is reduced in the area,” she said.
“Military medicine has once again answered the nation’s call for healthcare assistance by reopening the BAMC PICU so soon on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The general stressed how reassuring it is for military families to know that BAMC has the capabilities to provide state-of-the-art care for sick children.
“We have a lot of families with children with special needs and for us to be able to reopen the PICU so that they know they can be treated within our own family -- that we can make sure they can focus on their mission while we focus on the health of their children -- means all the difference to them,” Teyhen said.
Air Force Col. Renee Matos, BAMC pediatrics chief, thanked everyone for their support and dedication to reopening the PICU.
“This is a momentous moment, mainly because of all the people whose efforts went into reopening this PICU,” Matos said. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the team who is here right now. It is truly an honor to be part of that team.”
Matos said the space was empty and the staff started from “scratch” to put the unit back together.
“You picked up the pieces and you built something amazing,” she said. “I am proud and so grateful for all of you.”
Teyhen agreed, “I couldn’t be more proud of Team BAMC as we reopen our PICU and continue to provide greater healthcare capabilities for our beneficiaries.”