Tennessee Hospitals Test Readiness in Mass Casualty Response Exercise

54 hospitals in East Tennessee test reactions and communication in largest drill ever conducted


 
 

KRISTI L. NELSON, Knoxville News-Sentinel | | Thursday, November 7, 2013


Bloodied and bruised, Benjamin Steinke stepped off the school bus and staggered a few feet toward the waiting line of gurneys before dropping to the pavement outside the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Nurses rushed to help him up, reading the card around his neck to learn he had a “collapsed lung.”

Steinke, a senior at Halls High, was one of 29 high school students who played “victims” during a mass casualty drill Wednesday. From 9 a.m.-1 p.m., actor “victims” of an explosion — similar to the Boston Marathon bombing — showed up at 54 hospitals in East Tennessee, from Chattanooga to the Tri-Cities, to test how they would handle a sudden “surge” of 20 percent of their capacities coming in through the emergency room doors.

“My card said, ‘Can’t walk,’ so I stumbled a bit and then collapsed,” Steinke said.

The students, with help from Halls High’s art department, had realistic wounds via liquid latex, makeup and fake blood. Some “patients” at other hospitals were less elaborate; some existed only on paper.

All helped test how agencies throughout East Tennessee communicated with each other, sharing information and resources in the event of a crisis.

It was one of the largest hospital exercises ever conducted in Tennessee, said Katharine Killen, community relations director for the Knox County Health Department. For years, KCHD and East Tennessee Regional Health Office have conducted mass casualty drills — a roof collapse, train derailment or bioterrorism attack, for example. But this was the first time the exercise involved regional hospital coordinators and other emergency preparedness staff from Sullivan, Hamilton and other counties.

Local hospitals, all “pretty full already,” handled the extra patients well, said Charity Menefee, regional hospital coordinator for Knox County. The drill showed “how quickly (we could) get extra support to this area. ... We had a lot of assets available to us from all three areas within 45 minutes — which is really, really good.”

All will meet Thursday for a large-scale debriefing, she said.

UTMC emergency and trauma nurse manager Niki Rasnake and clinical nurse specialist Beckye Dalton have seen the drills lead to tweaks that help during an actual emergency — like a change that has personnel walking around registering incoming patients with scanners right away, “so we can keep track of where everybody is,” Rasnake said.

The drills help prepare for the unpredictable — like the recent deadly bus crash in Dandridge which brought 14 patients, by ground and air, to UTMC.

“We did the real thing last month,” Dalton said.

Mobile Category: 
News


Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, hospital, disaster drill, MCI drill

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

The Evolution of Civilian High Threat Medical Guidelines

How mass killing events have proven a need for new guidelines.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Ebola Changes How North Carolina EMS Responds to Calls

Concern about virus spread leads to new protocols.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Oklahoma Hospitals Prepare for Ebola Cases

Training and preparation are keys for metro hospitals.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

EMS in Nevada Prepares for the Unexpected

Protocols and PPE protect AMR personnel.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Brace for Possible Ebola Patients

Union leader shares concern over precautions.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Life Link III Trauma Tactics Conference in Minnesota

Conference was designed to enhance the skills of providers of all levels, covering rescue and prehospital situations, to transport and in-hospital treatment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

EMS Tailgating

Rigs converted for football.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

CDC Ebola Training for Clinicians

Students learn the complexities of working in bulky suits.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >