Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Testing surge capacity

Community General Hospital tested its emergency preparedness this week when 20 “accident victims” showed up in the emergency department for a first-of-the-kind state exercise.

"Victims" arriving at Community General Hospital
The Exercise Plan (ExPlan) tests a hospital's surge capacity (at least 20% above typical emergency patient volume).

The ExPlan will be required for New York State hospitals in 2010, and Community was the first hospital to test the exercise for the Department of Health (DOH).

A "mass casualty" victim entering the ED
That screaming in our ED came from some of the high school students who played "victims" of a mass casualty event, complete with moulage (makeup simulating wounds). Exercising their vocal chords was part of the verisimilitude.

The training scenario, developed by the State Department of Health, activates a hospital's incident command system, allowing the hospital to practice its its ability to triage victims, to treat them, and to prepare the entire hospital, including surgery, for the influx.

Triaging a "victim"
It was a learning experience for all of us, and we certainly appreciate the help of the DOH in developing the significant resources needed to prepare, conduct, and evaluate this exercise.

Community's incident command center

No comments: