Members of the U.S. Navy are helping at overwhelmed Utah hospital

Mar 2, 2022, 6:16 PM
Dr. Kencee Graves talks with members of the U.S. Navy as they arrive to support the University of U...
Dr. Kencee Graves talks with members of the U.S. Navy as they arrive to support the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the U.S. Navy are now at the University of Utah Hospital to help with over 500 surgeries deferred because of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Dr. Michael Good, the CEO of University of Utah Health, said they think the reinforcements will help open up hospitals beds that have been closed because they haven’t had enough staff to serve them.

U.S. Navy to send help

“Certainly, during the pandemic, time critical surgery has been completed,” said Good. “Maybe somebody needs back surgery because of injuries to their or chronic conditions to their back. When the hospital had so many COVID patients, and because of the staffing shortages, were some of the things that we’ve had to defer. So, now with the arrival of our colleagues from the Department of Defense, we’re really going to focus on getting as many of those surgeries completed while they’re here for their month-long deployment.”

For the next 30 days, physicians, nurses, and others will help schedule these delayed procedures, and work to get them done. 

A lot of the Navy team is respiratory therapists. Good says this will be really helpful. 

“Our teams have done phenomenal work during the two years of the pandemic. But now, as we enter this recovery phase, we need help getting caught up,” he said. “In fact, this operation is called Clinical Recovery Augmentation. We’re certainly not back to normal, but we’re trying to shift and get headed in that direction. And our colleagues from the Navy help us kind of accelerate that pivot that transition.”

A first of its kind 

Good says this partnership with the Navy is the first of its kind for the state.

“We can’t find in our archives, this type of deployment in our hospital, certainly in the recent past, and as best we can tell, this is the first time this has happened.”

More than 25 members of the Navy join the 14,000-plus team members at University of Utah hospitals and clinics. Good says it seems like a drop in the water, but it makes a big difference when their vacancies are double what they normally are.

“It’s common for us to as people come and go to have several 100 vacant positions,” said Good. “We have about twice our normal number of vacant positions right now. ”

And despite all that, Good says the help from the Navy will make a good dent in the 500-plus surgeries left. 

“I don’t know if we’ll get everything done in a deployment during the time of the deployment,” he said. “But we think we can get a really good start into catching up with those deferred surgeries.”

KSL TV’s Sean Moody contributed to the reporting of this story.

Read more:


Today’s Top Stories


Former astronaut and Utah Sen. Jake Garn will be honored Saturday with an art installation tribute ...
Mark Jones

Former Utah Sen. Jake Garn to be honored with art tribute on Saturday

Former Utah Sen. Jake Garn will be honored with an art installation tribute Saturday at the Salt Lake City International Airport.
2 days ago
President John F. Kennedy signs the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Cente...
Curt Gresseth

Is forcing the homeless into treatment the answer?

NYC Mayor Eric Adams has announced a program that involuntarily treats homeless people in "psychiatric crisis." A BYU psychologist weighs the New York approach against the ethics of patient autonomy.
2 days ago
File photo: Soldiers from the Utah National Guard prepare to depart Roland R. Wright Air National G...
Amie Schaeffer

Utah Air National Guard Airman dies during routine deployment

An airman from the Utah National Guard passed away from undisclosed medical issues while deployed in Guam on Nov. 29.
3 days ago
Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson wants his old job back. ...
Mark Jones

Rocky Anderson announces bid to run for SLC mayor in 2023

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson announced Wednesday that he is seeking reelection to get his old job back.
4 days ago
Former Vice President Mike Pence is seen here with audience members after appearing at at CNN town ...
Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Pence says Trump was ‘wrong’ for dinner with Holocaust denier

Former Vice President Mike Pence says former President Donald Trump was wrong for having dinner with a Holocaust denier and should apologize for it.
5 days ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Members of the U.S. Navy are helping at overwhelmed Utah hospital