- Hospitals in Boston effectively managed the influx of patients due to the city’s well-developed disaster plans after the Boston Marathon bombing.
- Emergency operation plans are specifically constructed for each hospital, taking into consideration the unique hazards and risks they could face.
- The most significant injuries caused by the bombings were to patients’ lower extremities due to the presence of sharp objects in the bombs.
- A critical part of the response was the instant organization of surgical resources and managing patient care, by distinguishing between critical and grave conditions.
- Hospitals must have a detailed emergency operations plan and are required to perform two drills a year to remain prepared for potential risks.
An unremarkable early afternoon was suddenly ruptured in Boston’s forefront hospitals. Up until then, medical staffs had their hands full, diligently working through regular caseloads. Abruptly, the city’s emergency management system blare: two bomb explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, a famed event in the city’s posh Back Bay neighbourhood. The impact left an uncertain number of victims with varying degrees of injuries. In response to this, hospitals sprung into action.
Rolling Out Adept Disaster Plans
Their response involved the timely execution of intricate disaster plans, developed and customized for such unforeseen emergencies. In any city and especially one as medically equipped as Boston, rigorous procedures such as these help save countless lives. Compassionate healthcare professionals, swift response and the careful management of resources are key factors in handling the large number of seriously wounded.
At every hospital, emergency operation plans are implemented to respond effectively to any disaster. They are constructed by contemplating the hazards and risks the hospitals might face, said an unnamed policy development director at a leading hospital association.
The Wounds and the Responses
Devastatingly, most bombing victims suffered severe injuries on their lower extremities due to the presence of nails, BBs, ball bearings and other sharp objects in the blasts. These crude “pressure-cooker” bombs had inflicted multiple pieces of shrapnel on patients.
As ambulances began pouring in, each hospital’s disaster plan was stress-tested. Physicians had to immediately distinguish between those critically injured and those who were gravely ill, while also organizing crucial surgical resources like operating rooms, Intensive Care Unit beds, and patient rooms.
The entire emergency response team swung into action. Keeping track of what tests and treatments each patient required proved to be a formidable task. In the meantime, hospital staff began making room for the grievously injured, moving some patients out of the intensive care units, discharging others who were physically stable, and postponing elective surgeries.
All hospitals are mandated to have an intricate emergency operations plan by their accrediting organization. They are also obligated to perform two drills a year, focusing on potential risks based on their geographical locations, an official from an accrediting commission commented.
Planning for havoc like the Boston bombing is the utmost challenge for any hospital, agrees an emergency management VP. Regardless of the situation, his network of 16 hospitals always maintain a record of available beds – a constant readiness for any eventuality, he stressed.
Learn more about community emergency response teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. To learn commiseration techniques in helping children cope with traumatic impacts of events similar to the Boston bombings, feel free to browse our related articles.