Würzburg hospital relies on dozens of transfers to keep facility running
December 31, 2003
WüRZBURG, Germany — With most of its medical staff headed to Iraq in the coming weeks, the Würzburg Army Hospital is relying on dozens of transfers from across Europe to keep the facility running.
During the past two weeks, the first newcomers have begun to arrive. By the end of next week, 64 doctors and nurses from the European Regional Medical Command will be filling in for their deployed comrades, said hospital spokesman Roger Teel.
“If that’s not enough, we’ll send more,” Brig. Gen. Elder Granger, ERMC commander, said in a statement released Tuesday.
The hospital serves servicemembers and their families, civilians and retirees through the main hospital in Würzburg and satellite clinics from Schweinfurt to Hohenfels.
It is staffed by the 67th Combat Support Hospital, a deployable unit under the control of V Corps and the 30th Medical Brigade. The arrangement is unique in Army medicine, Teel said. It will be the first time that the whole hospital unit has been deployed at once, so the unit is trying something that’s never been done.
“This is a very interesting and dynamic thing for us,” Teel said. “We don’t want any apprehension on the part of our beneficiaries. It’s going to keep floating, somehow.”
He said the hospital will not reduce its hours, though the family practice and internal medicine clinics have been merged as of Tuesday. The general surgery clinic also will be moved to the fourth floor of the hospital.
The hospital always has relied on local German hospitals to provide care in certain specialties, Teel said, and the use of German specialists is likely to increase with so many American doctors in Iraq.
The new arrivals in Würzburg generally learned of their transfers in early December.
“I didn’t mind,” said Sgt. Jovan Durham, 24, a medical technician who moved over from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center on Dec. 17. “They tried their best to get [single] people whose families wouldn’t be affected, to try and limit the hardship.”
Staff Sgt. Mark McGibney, 33, who transferred from the pharmacy clinic at Landstuhl, said he started working as soon as he arrived last Sunday. He’s had to pick things up quickly, because the soldier he replaced is on leave.
“I can pretty much step in,” McGibney said. “Some things you learn as you go, but pharmacies are pretty much the same.”
Durham said he has been warmly welcomed in Würzburg.
“They arranged for a nice hotel for us to stay in,” he said. “We know they’re going into harm’s way, but they’re constantly saying ‘thank you’ to us.”
Teel said the transfers likely will remain in Würzburg until sometime in the spring, when Army reservists are expected to take their places. But the reservists have not yet been identified because they, too, have been stretched thin by the Army’s commitment in Iraq.
Besides the transfers and reservists, Teel said, the hospital also is hiring civilian doctors, nurses, administrative assistants and clerks through the Civilian Human Resources Management Activity Web site, www.chrma.hqusareur.army.mil.
He said jobs are available in Schweinfurt, Bamberg, Grafenwöhr, Vilseck, Hohenfels, Kitzingen, Ansbach and Illesheim, as well as Würzburg.