ER prepares for mass casualties with real-life drill
When a car slid into a van transporting a volleyball team on Highway 61 due to icy road conditions, it started a chain of communication and action, from the EMT’s first call to the ER alerting personnel of the extent of injuries, to giving treatment, be it for trauma or a skinned knee.
That frightening scenario wasn’t real, but the process that kicked in when patients from a mass casualty event arrived at SGCMH ER was the real thing.
When the ER ward clerk announced “Mass Casualty ED, Mass Casualty ED, Mass Casualty ED,” all available docs, nurse practitioners and nurses, Diagnostics Imaging, Lab, OR, Med Surg, Business Office (to register patients) were at the ready in the emergency department, Occ Med and admitting.
Decisions were made as to what patients were put where. The most injured were taken to a trauma room; the walking casualties were taken to Occ Med. Trauma carts were hauled out, available stretches and wheelchairs were made available. Clipboards were at the ready to make sure every patient was accounted for.
A lot of prep work was put into the drill by Laura Baily, RN and ER Director and Kendall Shrumm, Director of the Ste. Genevieve Ambulance District. They came up with the scenario, decided on how many casualties and made the accident victims look the part by applying fake blood and bandages.
“I think the hospital handled the drill very well,” said Kendall. “It showed me that they’re really prepared and can be ready in short order.”
One of the pretend victims, Bob McClurg. said he was impressed by the professionalism in the field and at the hospital.
“It was like watching a TV show—everything went like clockwork. It gives me a lot of confidence in this hospital’s capabilities.”
Kendall Shrum and Laura Bailey would like to give a special thanks to the pretend victims in the drill. Bob McClurg, Seth Mueller, Brittany Killian, Claire Taylor, Erin Mueller, Maria Cabral, Kylie Samples, Mary Keeley, Olivia Meyer, Madison Otte, and Kayleen Warren. Health Department personnel also played the part of parents by receiving the calls from hospital personnel telling them of the accident--some even showing up playing the part of distraught parents.