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By Chuck Westerheide, County of San Diego Communications Office

November 15, 2022 (San Diego) - During a major disaster, a county, city or state medical system may become overwhelmed with patients or, unfortunately, casualties of the disaster. The national government trains and sends out special teams such as the National Disaster Medical System Mortuary Operational Response Team, to assist in areas where their skills are needed.

San Diego County Supervising Medical Examiner’s Investigator Elissa Fleak, a member of the National Disaster Medical System Mortuary Operational Response Team, was awarded the COVID-19 Pandemic Civilian Service Medal for exemplary service to the nation as part of the National Disaster Medical System.

“The COVID-19 pandemic strained our country’s health care system and medical personnel for almost three years,” said National Disaster Medical System Director Michael Smith. “Ms. Fleak and her National Disaster Medical System colleagues served as a lifeline to hundreds of hospitals and long-term care facilities by providing temporary relief to staff, adding bed capacity, and improving outcomes for COVID-19 patients, as well as assistance to local Medical Examiner’s and Coroner’s offices. This medal is reflective of her selfless commitment to the public health and medical needs of our residents.”
Fleak received the medal during the recent National Disaster Medical System Training Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana.


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