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Thursday, July 9, 2020

San Antonio Congressmen Call on Pentagon to Let BAMC Treat COVID-19 Patients

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 1:35 PM

click to enlarge U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno pins a Purple Heart Medal on a wounded soldier at Brooke Army Medical Center in this 2011 image. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / STAFF SGT. TEDDY WADE
  • Wikimedia Commons / Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade
  • U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno pins a Purple Heart Medal on a wounded soldier at Brooke Army Medical Center in this 2011 image.
U.S. Reps. Lloyd Doggett and Joaquin Castro have joined a chorus of local leaders calling on Brooke Army Medical Center to help handle the San Antonio area's growing coronavirus crisis.

Even though BAMC has treated non-military trauma patients for decades, the medical facility at Fort Sam Houston won't treat civilians with COVID-19 unless they’re military dependents or retirees. Local leaders including Mayor Ron Nirenberg have asked military leaders to change the policy.

“Military City U.S.A. has always stepped up to assist fellow Americans. Now the frontlines are right here. We are urging the Pentagon to permit San Antonians in uniform to serve their own neighbors," Doggett and Castro said in a joint statement. "We join our local and regional leaders in strongly urging the Department of Defense to swiftly allow Brooke Army Medical Center to treat COVID-19 patients, as our other hospitals dangerously approach capacity."

The two Democratic congressmen are urging the Pentagon to open up BAMC to local COVID-19 patients at the same time as medical personnel from other military bases travel to San Antonio to help in its overburdened hospitals.

"In March, BAMC personnel were dispatched to New York City to aid COVID efforts there, and right now the need is here," Castro and Doggett continued. "BAMC is a world-class care center, yet their hands are tied from performing live-saving work. Defense Secretary [Mark] Esper should promptly approve our request to save San Antonian lives."

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