May 16, 2013

CAMC residents and physicians triaged patients during a crisis drill simulating a bus crash.CAMC conducts drills internally and regularly participates with community agencies and other hospitals.

Usually the scenario's focus is on a major accident or community event that sends several patients to CAMC's facilities.

Rarely do hospitals get to practice for something that's very likely, and just a few months away. But that's just what several hospitals, from Putnam to Greenbrier counties, did in April.

It's the first time the Boy Scout Jamboree will be held in West Virginia. Between July 15 and July 24 about 40,000 scouts and several thousand more adult leaders and volunteers will be at the jamboree in Fayette County. Every day during that time, about 8,000 scouts will be transported for activities such as rafting, swimming and rock climbing. In addition, scouts will participate in community services projects over a 10-county area.

This many people together in one place and traveling presents the possibility that many people will need emergency care.

"No matter what happens, hospitals have got to be ready," said Lillian Morris, corporate director for safety. "As the tertiary care center for southern West Virginia, CAMC must prepare to accept critically ill patients transferred from other facilities across several counties."

Basic medical care will be provided on site at the Jamboree. However, in 2010 hospitals near that jamboree treated 704 total patients, admitting 337 of them with 23 in critical condition and another 38 serious.

"In planning for our April drill, we wanted to test our ability to treat additional trauma patients," Morris said. "We also wanted to test staff on caring for an infectious disease outbreak."

During April's drill, volunteer "patients" came to CAMC Women and Children's Hospital due to meningitis while other patients went to CAMC Memorial Hospital following a mock bus accident.

CAMC's emergency response plan has been developed and revised over time to guide employees' response to events which challenge hospital operations. These drills challenge employees to know the disaster plan and be prepared for the unexpected curves that usually come with a disaster.

The drills may be in the past, but the learning continues. Between now and July, CAMC will continue working with state planners in preparation for the jamboree.

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