First responders in New Jersey facing major mass casualty incidents and extensive entrapments will now be able to call on an extra set of hands—from a physician.
That’s because MONOC, the Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Services Corporation, has launched MD-1. (MONOC is a non-profit consortium providing ALS and BLS services to parts of the state.) The new will deliver trained emergency physicians to major EMS situations.
“It’s certainly not a frequent occurrence, but there have been some things over time where the services of MD-1 would be helpful,” says Scott Matin, vice president of MONOC Mobile Health Services.
The new unit wouldn’t respond to the typical EMS call, but rather come into play for cases in which someone is trapped for an extended amount of time, or when there might be a need for an emergency amputation to free the patient.
“These are going to be ones where a half-hour response time still means you’re going to make it to the scene,” Matin says.
MONOC’s MD-1 unit is headed by Dr. Mark Merlin, a new member of MONOC’s Medical Advisory Board and chair of the EMS/Disaster Medicine Fellowship at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Medical Director of the New Jersey EMS Task Force. MD-1 will be stationed with Merlin or a member of his team.
Having specialty-designed units transporting emergency department physicians to EMS operations is a growing trend in prehospital care. The New Jersey EMS Task Force also has a similar unit stationed at St. Joseph's Medical Center, which has already responded to several situations in which a physician was needed.
Matin says he understands there could be concerns about how EMS providers react in the field to the arrival of a physician on the scene, but it shouldn’t be a problem in this case.
“These doctors are going to be coming out on special scenes,” he says. “I can tell you the medics will be glad they’re there.”