terrorism, disasters, and technical malfunctions

In the case of a disaster the hospitals are in demand. Accidents in the aviation, rail and Busunglücke, terrorist attacks, accidents at large-scale events, natural disasters, or technical faults, for example, in the electricity and water supply and much more – our infrastructure must be prepared for all imaginable cases.

The hospitals play a big role

As hospital employees, we need to practice dealing with such events. We mostly work together closely with the colleagues of the firefighters. Only through such Exercises, we can ensure that the Interaction in the case of emergency works. The health authority is never tired to provide us with a very different and exciting scenarios in which we need to measure.

In my career as a nurse, I now have several of these disasters, and emergency drills in various areas, hospitals, and positions experienced.

When the Unimaginable happens

I rang many years ago with my wife in the centre of Hamburg on the road, as my phone and a recorded message was followed by: I should come immediately to the clinic, there had been a major accident and it is expected with a large number of injured. It was an Exercise. By pressing a button, I had to confirm, if and when I can come.

I immediately drove to the hospital and registered in the established staff collection. As a specialist nurse for anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, I was assigned to the red treatment category (critically injured) and sent to the emergency room. Together with a further work force and a doctor, we formed a treatment unit.

Our task: patients in critical condition receive, store and stabilize, and then in the “treatment area will be Red”.

Scenes like in a Hollywood movie

After a short time, we were brought to the entrance. It had already become dark. With my group, I stepped out of the warm and bright hospital to the outside.

It was a bit like being in an action movie. As we stood in the cold and damp autumn air. Dozens of “injured” according to made-up of people moving around us. In between the hospital staff and employees of the fire Department. It was loud. It was talked, screamed. The actors, mostly students, ached and wept. They provided a great and pretty realistic Show.

The emergency bus, the fire brigade stood out in front of the house and “hurt” were pouring out of him. Several rescue weighing criss-cross in front of the clinic. Wear it anywhere and wheelchairs. The blue lights were for illumination of the whole of the forecourt, the lights were reflected in small puddles on the floor.

Red to red, yellow to yellow, green to green

Doctors performed the first sighting and the “injured divided” according to their urgency. We got a “critical” and, therefore, marked in red patients. We treated and stabilized him, and brought him into the intended treatment area.

Although all parties Involved knew that it was an Exercise, it felt pretty damn real! It was not funny or playful. I was really tense and concentrated. It was an incredibly exciting and eventful evening. And the following Exercises in the following years were equally exciting.

Testing for the management of

Just recently, I took part in an Exercise – this Time as part of the hospital. It was not a complete exercise, involving the whole hospital, but a little Exercise. Only the management of the hospital should be checked. You shall, in the case of an incident and coordinate the process.

In the provided scenario, it was a serious technical fault in the hospital. In a large responsibilities shared group, edited it and we co-ordinated the actions to be taken. Focus on the Overview of the overall situation, the correct assessment and the initiation of adequate reactions. What options do we have? How long the disruption will last? We can solve them in the short term?

The successful attempt to produce Stress

In the neighboring room staff of the authority sat and bombarded us with phone calls and new information. In our room, our communication and our responses have been documented in detail.

In retrospect, it is really impressive how real this Situation was. I stood under the stream, when a number of important information at the same time arrived and I had to filter what has the highest priority. From I work, my current activity, or I will break this and take care of the new Information?

To communicate, to delegate, listed things and checked his documentation. Again and again we heard fragments of the other conversations, before they focused back on his work. Again and again common location of meetings. After about two to three hours, the Exercise was terminated.

Only those who practice it can act in case of an emergency

It is a good feeling to know that we are prepared as a Hamburg-based hospitals in the case of an emergency! Of course there is a difference between reality and Practice. And it is to be hoped that we are in need of our crisis plans never really. But without the Exercises we would be lost in the event of a disaster.

Photo: Fotolia / Thaut Images