While health care professionals are trained and experienced in responding at a moment’s notice, a mass casualty event as serious as the one June 19 isn’t a regular occurrence – it had been years since Tidelands Georgetown responded to an accident of that size and scope.
But the team was prepared. Tidelands Georgetown team members regularly participate in mass casualty drills with Georgetown County and other agencies to help make sure the hospital is ready. By coincidence, several emergency department professionals had just been recertified by the Emergency Nurses Association in trauma nurse curriculum over two days of intense, hands-on training just two weeks prior.
That Saturday, 17 patients from the accident arrived at the emergency department at the same time, even as team members were also treating other patients needing emergency care, including one experiencing a stroke and another showing signs of a heart attack.
“This bolus of seriously injured patients could have overwhelmed the emergency department, but the dedicated, experienced nursing staff organized a mass casualty triage system, and the support supplied by multiple staff members from all over the hospital rose to the occasion,” says Dr. John Manning, who was working in the ER. “This was a true team effort, and the team deserves recognition and our gratitude.”