JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Leaders at Ballad Health said they’re prepared for any disaster that might bring large quantities of patients into their facilities.
“It’s constantly on the forefront of our mind,” Seth Brown, Chief Medical Officer with Niswonger Children’s Network told News Channel 11.
Brown said hospital staff run drills on everything, including entering the hospital in a uniform way and how to control bleeding when multiple patients arrive with serious injuries at the same time.
“We also look internally at all of our processes, everything from how do folks enter our campus in terms of a large number of people who may be ill or injured, all the way through the process of reunification with family toward the end of the event,” said Brown.
For health system employees, practice and preparedness expand beyond the walls of local hospitals in order to maintain communication with other agencies.
“We practice that communication with our first responders, police, fire and EMS,” said Brown. “We have a regional communication center that can take that information in and make sure that the appropriate facilities are alerted.”
Once first responders notify the health system of a serious event, Brown said, they get organized for whatever scenario comes next.
“A response to a disaster goes much deeper than just the medical care,” said Bracken Burns, Trauma Medical Director for Johnson City Medical Center.
Burns said the system would set up an incident command structure to organize the response.
“We have a plan that allows us to respond to a disaster or a large number of casualties, but then has enough flexibility in the plan to allow you to go into the specifics of what might be involved in that circumstance,” said Burns. “Be that a traumatic series of accidents, be that an explosion, be that gunshot wounds, whatever it happens to be.”