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


This June 20, 2017, photo provided by Chris Wonderly shows Hovenweep Castle at Hovenweep National M...
Curt Gresseth

Supreme Court widens state power over tribes. What does it mean for Utah?

The director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs discusses the recent US Supreme Court ruling and what it means for tribes in Utah.
22 hours ago
Ketanji Brown Jackson takes the oath for the Supreme Court....
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, will be sworn as the court's 116th justice Thursday, just as the man she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, retires.
22 hours ago
Immigration activists rally outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 26. Photo credi...
Tierney Sneed and Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

Supreme Court says Biden can end Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ immigration policy

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave President Joe Biden the green light to end the controversial "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy.
22 hours ago
The Supreme Court is pictured. The court just limited the EPA...
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited how the nation's main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
22 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
22 hours ago
A Rite Aid logo is displayed on its store...

Amazon, Rite Aid cap purchase of emergency contraceptives

Retailers limiting purchases is standard practice that helps retailers prevent stockpiling and reselling at higher prices.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Members of the U.S. Navy are helping at overwhelmed Utah hospital