Keesler Medical Center named best in Air Force

With 25,000 patients a year, Keesler Medical Center is one of the largest and busiest hospitals in the entire Department of Defense, and now it’s also been deemed the best in the Air Force.

The Air Force Surgeon General has awarded Keesler Air Force Base Medical Center the coveted “Hospital of the Year” distinction.

Keesler Medical Center, which is operated by the 81st Medical Group, earned the honor after being reviewed in four categories: full spectrum readiness, integrated operational support, Air Force medical home and trusted care.

“The fact that Keesler Medical Center is the best in the entire Air Force has been our little secret for a long time,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “But the secret is out now. Congratulations to Base Commander Col. Debra Lovette and Col. Jeannie Ryder, 81st Medical Group commander. The Keesler Medical Center is one of the many reasons why Biloxi is home to the best Air Force base in the United States.”

Said Col. Ryder: “Chief [Julie] Bottroff and I are so proud of our Dragon Medics. This is a team sport and we did it together. I’m so thankful for my medics’ expertise, leadership, fellowship, professionalism and compassionate care.”

During 2017, the medical group responded to numerous crises and natural disasters, including the triage of 44 passengers after a train-bus accident in downtown Biloxi. Base personnel then helped transport the victims in under an hour. Days after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the critical care air transport teams were deployed to support rescue and recovery efforts in Texas and Florida. In March, the 81st Surgical Operations Squadron at Keesler, using da Vinci Xi robot, performed the Air Force’s first robotic surgery.

The center’s Public Health Clinic ensured the safety and wellbeing of the nearly 3,000 students temporarily assigned to Keesler when they identified and treated the Norovirus emerging in dormitories.

Keesler Medical Center has a daily load of 615 appointments, 113 outpatient procedures and 100 emergency room visits.
Learn more about the 81st Medical Group and Keesler Medical Center


Polar plunge, truck pull are Saturday morning at Margaritaville

OK, so it’s not a belly flop into the frigid water of the Northeast, but Maj. Chris DeBack of the Biloxi Police Department, organizer of this weekend’s Polar Plunge and Truck Pull for Mississippi Special Olympics, says it will be an entertaining challenge nonetheless.

A dozen registrants are scheduled to plunge into an ice-filled three-foot pool that will be set up in front of Margaritaville in east Biloxi Saturday beginning at 8 a.m., and eight-member teams will pull a Biloxi fire truck 25 feet in another part of the fund-raising event.
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Record-setting BEST takes second in state meet

Biloxi Elite Swim Team swimmers, known as BEST, finished second overall and set nearly two dozen team records at the Mississippi Swimming Short Course State Championships.

“BEST came extremely close to winning their first state championship,” said City of Biloxi Recreation Superintendent and BEST Head Coach Jamie Lee.  “This meet was really special to us, not only because we were so close at winning a state championship, but because it was in our own backyard.”

More than 300 swimmers from nearly a dozen cities throughout the state competed Feb. 16-18 at the Biloxi Natatorium. 
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News and notes: Expo, senior Olympics, traffic

Expo preview:  The Gulf Coast Historical and Cultural Exposition is taking place today and Saturday at the Biloxi Civic Center.  The event is free and open each day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  To see a preview of the event, recording during set on Thursday evening, click here. To see a complete weekend line up, click here

Senior Olympic registration:  The Mississippi Senior Olympics are taking registration for the 2018 state games, taking place on April 4- May 25 along the Mississippi Gulf Coast for those age 50 and older.  For more information and to register, click here

Traffic:  To see the latest traffic advisories and road closures, click here