ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico children’s hospital is finally getting some much-needed help. It’s been operating at more than 100% capacity for weeks, as flu, RSV, and COVID cases overwhelm the hospital.

After a month-long application, a team from the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) is now deployed at UNM children’s hospital to help with rising cases of respiratory infections among children.

“Pediatrics can be one of the most vulnerable populations during a disaster and having this team is really beneficial to be able to lessen that impact on the pediatric population,” said Paul Decerbo, a team lead with NDMS.

A federal team called in to help is made up of 14 people from all across the country. The team includes a leader, administrative specialist, medical officer, nurse practitioner, four registered nurses, four paramedics, and two respiratory therapists.

The recent rise of respiratory illnesses like RSV, the flu, and covid has created a tri-demic, resulting in the hospital setting up an outside triage center for room and finding beds where they can.

UNM children’s hospital has been operating at 118% for months. The team will help alleviate the overwhelmed staff. As respiratory illnesses rise across the country, there’s high demand for the federal team’s help.

“Everybody wants them, every health system across the country is applying for these teams because they are such a tremendous resource, and UNM hospital feels extremely grateful that this team is in place,” said UNMH Spokesperson Chris Ramirez.


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On Saturday, the team was onboarded and fitted for PPE and will be working alongside staff as soon as this weekend. The team is set to be helping the children’s hospital for two weeks.

After those two weeks, the hospital will re-evaluate its next steps for patient care and staffing.