DCU Center field hospital ready to treat coronavirus patients

WORCESTER, Mass. — In just one week, the DCU Arena in Worcester has transformed into the state’s first field hospital.

Now, the hospital is ready to start treating patients.

“We’re confident we’ll be ready to go and we’re excited to be able to take on patients,” said Dr. John Broach. “We’ve got physicians, nurses, techs, radiology techs, pharmacists, people have been very generous with their time.”

According to Broach, more than 1,000 people have signed up to help treat patients. From hundreds of beds to a pharmacy and even a virtual translator, the hospital at the DCU Arena has all the equipment needed to help patients.

“I believe it’s like 206 different languages, we can have video conferences with a live interpreter, so this will benefit our patients that are non-English speaking,” said Associate Chief Nursing Officer Peter Lancette.

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Most of the patients treated at the field hospital will be in stable condition, but if they become critical, there are 10 ICU stations set up to help accommodate them before transferring them to a hospital.

“So one of the most important therapeutic interventions we can do for patients with COVID-19 is just oxygen,” said Broach.

Critical care stations will have ventilators and every unit will have access to oxygen, which will be carried in from copper tubes connected to liquid oxygen tanks outside.

Right now, Broach says 214 out of the 250 beds are ready to go, but he expected they’ll only start seeing about 10 to 20 patients in the next couple of days.

“I think there’s a good chance over the next few days, we will need the beds here because of surge capacity issues in the hospital,” said Broach. “We, from the very beginning, wanted to be ahead of the surge, we want to have this ready to go, if it sits relatively empty or just a few patients for a few days, that’s totally fine to us. We want to be here and not needed rather than not here.”

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