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Monterey County Doctor Shares COVID-19 Combat Medical Mission Experience Deployment in New York City

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Monterey County Doctor Shares COVID-19 Combat Medical Mission Experience Deployment in New York City

Col. Edward Ramirez, MD compares his medical mission in New York City to active combat. The Monterey County physician spent two months embedded in a New York City hospital, as part of the military’s frontline response to the pandemic.

“It’s not missiles or bombs,” said Col. Edward Ramirez, MD. “But the threat to life is just as much, if not more.”

Col. Ramirez is an active staff member at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital with his own private practice. He has 27 years of service with the U.S. Army and has deployed four times, all medical combat missions. The physician reservist says he returned home in April 2020 from a four month long deployment in Kuwait only to get the call less than 30 days later to deploy to the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis.

“I was at Lincoln Hospital in South Bronx,” said Col. Ramirez. “It was the busiest hospital in New York City. There was an 18 hour notice to prepare, say goodbye to my family and board a plane.”

Col. Ramirez estimates he saw about 55 COVID positive patients a day during the two month deployment or more than 2000 people. As an Army reservist with his own medical practice, he says many people don’t realize the sacrifice many dedicated reservists make to serve their county in times of crisis. It’s boots on the ground while putting his family, patients and practice income on hold. He says the pandemic deployment was different than others.

“The difference for us is when you’re a physician, you’re not on the front line of the war, here we’re in the infantry.”

Col. Ramirez documented his time at Lincoln Hospital and was featured in an ABC Nightline news report on the military’s contributions in the city. He is sharing his experience and lessons learned during Monterey County’s regular news briefing today at noon.