COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Hospitals around central Ohio are making sure their teams are prepared for the worst by participating in a mass casualty training simulation on Tuesday.
Dozens of people acting patients were brought to the hospitals and the staff were able to respond how they would in real life.
The training was run by the Central Ohio Trauma System (COTS). Each time COTS organizes one of these training courses, it uses a different scenario.
“There could be a train derailment, there could be a mass shooting or a school shooting, there could be a bombing and we need to be prepared to have a surge of patients, and influx of patients,” said Nicholas Kman, an emergency physician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and also a medical team manager for Ohio Task Force 1. “And we need to know what to do with the existing patients we have in the emergency department of the hospital.”
Tuesday’s situation was a bleacher collapse and had 32 “patients” dropped off from a bus and the hospital staff had to take them inside to treat them as if a real event happened.
Each patient had a different injury – some required surgery while others were less severe.
Melinda Kizziah, a second-year emergency medicine resident, said those taking part in the training had to assess the patient as quickly as possible and decide what comes next.
“So regardless of what their presenting injury is, you have to assess them top to bottom and figure out what’s going to kill them and what’s going to do this the fastest,” she said.
Kizziah said the exercise helps to devise a plan, build communication and feel the intensity of a mass casualty situation.
“You have to communicate well, you have to know that you trust your team and that involves open communication, making sure you are verbalizing what you need and that they say it back to you,” Kizziah said.
The medical staff hopes the event shows the community they are ready to take on anything that comes their way.
“So these aren’t things that we do every day, even though we deal with a lot of patients,” Kman said. “We don’t have 30 or 40 patients come all at once and have to immediately treat them, so it is really important to practice these drills and to have a good plan.”
Twenty-four hospitals in central Ohio took part in Tuesday’s training.
COTS is planning another large-scale training with a different simulation for some time in September.