Airmen Maintain health care through medical maintenance

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cody H. Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Would you trust a dentist who wants to take out a tooth with a wrench or a surgeon who wants to use a kitchen knife during an open-heart surgery? No matter the talent of the health care provider, their life-saving capabilities are limited by the equipment they use.

With more than 5,000 patients seen at the base clinic here each month, the 509th Medical Support Squadron medical maintenance shop has the crucial job of ensuring all clinic equipment is serviceable.

The shop of four Airmen (one deployed) has 675 pieces of equipment which are maintained on a scheduled rotation; annually, semi-annually and quarterly for critical pieces. The maintenance shop doesn't just work on scheduled jobs, but fixes random breaks, bringing the shop's total amount of equipment to more than 1,000 items.

"We inspect and calibrate any machinery in the clinic to include the ambulance," said Staff Sgt. David McCann, 509th MDS medical maintenance technician. "If anything goes wrong, we can fix the equipment immediately, so the clinic can quickly get back to caring for their patients."

Fixing equipment is essential, according to McCann, but he said watching over the equipment's life cycle is just as important.

"We purchase all equipment for the clinic, watch over it and repair it, and if needed dispose of it," Alanna McCafferty said. "We deal with the contracts for equipment and work with the contractors to make sure they understand what is needed of them."

The medical maintenance shop also tends to medical equipment that goes with servicemembers on deployments, such as suction units and insulators used on people being transported from Afghanistan to Germany, and other life saving equipment.

The 509th MDS medical maintenance ensures any machinery that might touch a patient is working properly, from thermometers to X-rays, to prevent damage and continue the base clinic's life saving abilities.