1. #1
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    Default Hospitals Prepare For Terror Attacks

    Hospitals Prepare For Terror Attacks Seminar Advises Medical Community About Disaster Preparedness

    POSTED: 6:24 pm EST January 20, 2006
    UPDATED: 6:58 pm EST January 20, 2006

    WASHINGTON -- Area hospitals are preparing for any possible disaster, including a terrorist attack.

    Every other month, D.C. hospitals, which have spent four years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks going over every possible scenario to prepare for a major disaster, stage drills to help them be better prepared.

    "Here in Washington, we feel like we are in the center, in the belly of the beast," said Dr. Mark Smith, of the Washington Hospital Center. "We know we are a target, and so our interest not only has not flagged, but actually has accelerated in the last several years."

    Virginia hospitals have gone through extensive planning. Entire rooms are devoted to mass casualty supplies -- including hazmat boots, batteries, water and personal protective equipment -- for a natural disaster or bioterrorism attack.

    But more needs to be done. Experts at a seminar said emergency workers need to train for a variety of disasters and be prepared to be on their own.

    "We can't always depend on the government," said Dr. Eric Frykberg, of the American College of Surgeons. "The government has got its role, but it's not a major role. That role has to lie with us, right at the scene where it's going to happen because we are going to be alone for 24 to 48 hours."

    One of the interesting things doctors learned at the seminar is that only 15 percent of those injured in a disaster are seriously or critically injured. The rest can wait for treatment.

    Copyright 2006 by nbc4.com
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    Hospitals are going to be a real problem in the event of a major WMD attack..whether it is chem, bio, rad or nuc. Not many of them are equipped to handle the decon, containment and isolation issues. If they have equipment, they likely do not have sufficient personnel trained to do the job the right way.

    My wife is an ED nurse (Yup. I married up). Alot of our friends are docs and nurses. In one of the preparedness studies in one of the hospitals around here, they did an anonymous survey of the RN's. The purpose was to find out how many were going to be available in the event of a WMD attack. 85% of the nurses replied that they would NOT come in for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason was to take care of their children.

    I suspect that you would find similar numbers across the country.

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    I would say that most urban/metro area trama centers are pretty well prepared. I know the DC area is, particularly the Washington Hospital Center and Fairfax Hospital, but also GW, Georgetown, Sibley, and Suburban. They practice, and have decons stations all ready to go. Will they be ready for all the patients they might have to deal with? All depends on the size of the attack, luckly the USMC CBRIF is right down the river at Indian Head and will be up real fast to provide great mass-casulty decon assistance. I also know the Hospitals in LA are well prepared, FDNY-EMS and Haz-Mat practices with the NYC Hospitals, and I have seen great things in the Boston Hospitals. So the main target areas are ready for a basic attack.
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    I was recently involved in an ICS 313 class here on the West Coast. It involved WMD Command. The local hospitals were invited. The first day the ER manager (MD) was present. He was obviously out of his element and was in great need of the training. He didn't show the next two days.

    The hospital managers that remained fought amongst themselves while the fire department, FBI, National Guard and PD all had their stuff together and interacted well.

    Reflect back to New Orleans if you want an example of what happens when hospitals are out of their element.

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