NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Jan. 30 was anything but a normal day for the patients and staff at the Mike O’Callaghan Federal Medical Center.
Then a man brandishing a handgun outside the emergency room caused the hospital to lockdown at about 10 a.m., but the care provided by the 99th Medical Group staff was not.
The medical staff’s training allowed them to continue the care that couldn’t be put on hold — such as delivering a baby.
“We do [exercises] all the time within our unit,” said 1st Lt. Andrea Simpson, 99th Inpatient Squadron registered nurse. “We are trained to handle these situations.”
According to Simpson, who was the on hand during the delivery, good leadership and the unit’s overall cohesion helped her feel more than prepared for the situation.
“During situations like this, our leadership is always up front providing us the support for anything we might need,” she said. “Everyone just comes and plays their part and knows their roles.”
Téa Burke was one of the patients in labor and delivery and gave birth to her daughter, Noélani Burke, just hours into the lockdown.
According to Téa’s mother, Teisha Burke, besides the call over the intercom explaining the situation and not being able to leave the room, the lockdown was almost nonexistent to them.
“I was fine; I know that the Air Force had it [under control],” Teisha said. “I knew that we were more secure than anyone else.”
Téa said Maj. (Dr.) Wendi Holmes, 99th Medical Support Squadron, seemed to only care about doing what she needed to do to deliver her baby.
“[Holmes] kept her focus on me,” Téa said. “When I was having contractions, she helped me through it.
“I grew up a military brat and know the base like the back of my hand,” she added. “I know they give the best care, that’s why I wanted to have my daughter here.”
During the lockdown the 99th MDG was also able to deliver a second baby, complete two surgeries and continue providing some basic patient care.