ELIZABETH—For a medical center located less than 20 miles from New York City in a densely populated urban center, there is no such thing as being too prepared.
“With that reality in mind and in cooperation with Union County, Trinitas Regional Medical Center enacted a significant four-day crisis scenario designed to test our ability to respond at a moment’s notice to an unfolding major medical emergency,” explained Michael McIntyre, director of Support Services and Plant Operations/Administration at Trinitas, who served as the “Incident Commander” during the mock crisis.
Philip E. Solomon, emergency preparedness coordinator at Trinitas, noted that the exercise simulated an infectious disease event that saw the influx of more than 100 simulated patients into Trinitas.
“During the crisis simulation, more than 120 staff members from departments and functions throughout the medical center actively participated,” explained Solomon. “In real-life circumstances, such an event exerts an impact on the entire hospital and in this drill we put everyone through the paces of responding to an emergency of significant magnitude.”
The drill called for the activation of the Trinitas Emergency Operations Center. An incident command team complete with an “Incident Commander” managed the simulated event. Throughout the four-day period, decisions were made and measures were adopted to deal with the crisis and respond to patients at crisis response meetings.
“Union County is very serious about emergency preparedness, and conducting crisis exercises with the health care community is a vital part of our overall plan,” said Freeholder Board Chairman Angel G. Estrada. “The county’s Division of Health coordinated this exercise with Trinitas Regional Medical Center to help ensure that medical services in our region are ready for any contingency.”
On the final day of the drill, the Same Day Surgery Unit was converted into additional isolation space to accommodate the “patients.” Two days after the drill, a number of employees were included in a debriefing to review the actions of various departments and functions during the emergency.
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