Veteran stories: From the frontlines of war to the frontlines of the pandemic

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — For a number of those veterans we are honoring and thanking today, the job isn’t over yet. Some work in the medical field, and they tell us their experiences keep them going through these difficult times.

“We didn’t get a choice in this war, this war came to us,” said Domenic Martinello, chief medical officer of Southern Hills Hospital.

Ben Rawcliffe, Southern Hills’ director of critical care, noted, “With COVID-19, this is what we probably describe our third wave. But now, we have a better handle on what we are dealing with.”

From the frontlines overseas to the frontlines of the pandemic, Rawcliffe says he is using past experiences in the present as COVID numbers increase.

“I was a combat medic in the Army from ’02-’06 with the 101st Airborne,” he shared. “During that time being deployed overseas, you can kind of relate to the pandemic situation. It was something that was new when you are young, going to a war zone, lots of unknown.”

He went on to say that almost 14-15 years later, “it still comes down to in the hospital setting, very much patient focus.” He stressed patients are their No. 1 priority, “but relating that to the military, it’s all about the person to your left, the person to your right.”

Martinello says the military taught him to work as a team, and teamwork is part of battling the coronavirus:

“The hospital is like a calvary unit. You take a bunch of people that are all from different backgrounds, all have different jobs and put them all together, and they have to accomplish one mission.”

He also says gathering intelligence, like he did back in the military, also helps in treating those who get sick.

“We’re actually pulling in all our research that we can possibly get. There is a tremendous amount of data that needs to be brought in from multiple specialties and all assimilated so that we can develop treatment strategies for these patients,” Martinello explained. “The only way we’re actually going to win this war is that if each and every person is capable of fighting dust.”

Because these veterans see so much firsthand, they too want to share the message to continue to do your part by wearing a mask and limiting group gatherings.

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