Five nurses from Abrazo Central Campus have volunteered to support fellow caregivers in Detroit as that city experiences an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The nurses work in the operating room and recovery room at Abrazo Central, and became available when volume slowed after the governor’s executive order pausing elective surgery in Arizona hospitals. They will temporarily fill needs at Detroit Medical Center hospitals, owned by Abrazo Central’s parent company, Tenet Healthcare. 

This is a short-term assignment for the Abrazo Central nurses. With the pandemic peak not expected until later in the month, it’s an opportunity to provide care where needed. The nurses will be able to return to Arizona when needed here, said Tami Biggs, RN, chief nursing officer at Abrazo Central Campus. 

“Detroit has been in need of nurses to help provide relief during this pandemic. Last weekend, Abrazo Central Campus had five Surgical Services nurses that flew to Michigan to help support their needs. I can’t thank these nurses enough for their courage and support,” said Biggs.

Abrazo nurses helping in Detroit include Austin Fifield of Chandler, Bryan Reddick of Tempe, Pat Keilman of Glendale, Caryn Huffman of Avondale and Carolyn Smith of Phoenix.

“The employees and the community are so thankful,” Huffman emailed to her coworkers back in Phoenix. “Others are offering their services for anything we might need while we are here.” 

“Our colleagues in Detroit are fighting the COVID battle in a way that most of us are not experiencing. They have fought hard and with such grace and determination. However, they were in desperate need of staff,” said Biggs. The Abrazo nurses are filling in wherever they’re needed in Detroit. 

“The picture of our staff on the plane speaks volumes to the power in being a part of a system that works together to support each other in need,” added Abrazo Central Interim CEO Ed Staren. “We received so many messages of gratitude from leadership in Detroit and Tenet Home Office.” 

Staren noted Abrazo Central can safely care for its patients with the staff and supplies currently on hand.

“Abrazo is fortunate to be a part of Tenet Healthcare and its network of 65 hospitals across the country. Tenet’s most important mission right now is to provide the best possible support for its hospitals and other care facilities so they can continue to deliver life-saving treatment to fight COVID-19 and many other illnesses and conditions. 

“There has been tremendous teamwork and compassion from hospital staff, physicians and board members, who are offering all of their support during this pandemic. This is like running a marathon at the pace of a sprint, but we are all in this together to protect the health of our community,’ said Staren.


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