Group shot of anesthesia team
Front row, left to right: Allison Curtis, RN (Mass General, post-anesthesia care unit), Ellen Blanch, RN, Todd Dennison, NREMT-P (Boston MedFlight).
Back row, left to right: Kayla Nally, RN (Brigham & Women’s Hospital), Mike Vojak, NREMT-P (Good Samaritan Hospital), Jeff Hirsch, MD (GE Healthcare), Mike Storey, CRNA.

As part of the National Disaster Medical System response to the COVID-19 pandemic, two members of the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital—Ellen Blanch, RN, and Mike Storey, CRNA, DNP—were deployed with their federal medical team, MA-1, from July 26 to August 8, 2020 to Lake Charles, Louisiana. Their medical team was tasked to augment the emergency department and intensive care unit (ICU) of CHRISTUS Saint Patrick’s Hospital, as the hospital was experiencing a surge of patients with COVID-19 resulting in high infection rates amongst the staff and a limited supply of personal protective equipment. To attend to the high amount of patients being treated for COVID-19, the surgical ICU was converted into a COVID ICU.

Ellen and Mike were assigned with other teammates, nurses, physicians and paramedics to manage and care for patients infected with the virus who needed ICU-level care. They both worked 12-hour shifts for 10 consecutive days.

Earlier in March 2020, for more than two weeks, Ellen had been deployed to Dobbins Air Force base in Marietta, Georgia with the same federal medical team. The team was tasked with helping the federal government medically screen and monitor Americans who were being transported during quarantine from the West Coast to the East Coast via cruise ships carrying patients diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. This effort was initiated in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and the Public Health Service.