By Airman 1st Class Sarah Dowe
When people think of hospitals many may think of doctors, nurses and beeping machines that take blood pressure and monitor vitals. However, what goes on behind the scenes is just as important.
Behind the scenes there are many individuals in the Langley Hospital who ensure that all personnel are able to receive the medical care necessary to be ready to deploy, while also taking care of the Airmen’s families and retirees.
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chadrick Jones, 633rd Medical Group noncommissioned officer in charge biomedical equipment technician, manages the Medical Maintenance Program for the entire medical treatment facility including the Army Vet Clinic, Guard and Reserve units, and several public access defibrillators spread across Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
“I ensure our 12 technicians are fully equipped to maintain over 5,400 devices valued at $4.6 million dollars,” Jones said. “We are responsible for ensuring doctors, surgeons, nurses and technicians have functional, properly maintained and safe medical equipment that is ready for patient care.”
The technicians play an important role in ensuring all personnel are able to receive the necessary medical care by providing timely repairs and maintenance of equipment.
“We maintain, repair and calibrate medical equipment; this includes units as simple as a thermometer, to more advanced equipment items like radiological units and anesthesia equipment,” said Airman 1st Class Timothy Torres, 633rd MDG BMET. “We also repair vital signs machines, sterilizers, dental chairs and electrical surgical units.”
Having in-house capabilities allows the hospital to have technicians who are familiar with the equipment and connected to the mission. It also eliminates lengthy response times and scheduling conflicts, Jones explained.
“We also provide input and testing on future deployment-related equipment outfitting for Air Combat Command’s manpower and equipment packaging unit,” Jones said.
BMETs are divided into two teams. One team performs scheduled preventative maintenance on an annual basis. The second team mainly handles repairs, processing new equipment into the facility and carrying out the procedures for removing equipment from the facility, stated Torres.
“My favorite thing about this job is that I get to do a different thing every day. Each day is different and brings a new challenge or experience,” said Torres. “The coolest thing is when you finally get a certain piece of equipment working after trying for a few days, especially if you did it on your own.”
According to Jones, this job gives him a great sense of purpose knowing he gives the people delivering patient care the confidence that the tools they need will always be available.
“The medical career field never sleeps, patients need us 24/7,” Jones said. “Patients rely on us at times when they may feel the most vulnerable. I enjoy trying to help people smile even when they may not be feeling their best.”
Working as BMET provides Airmen the opportunity to help provide medical care to patients in a scarcely seen, but vital role to ensure mission completion and save lives.
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