Could some Texas A&M students hold the key to the hospitals of the future? They might, says U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona.
Carmona was in College Station Wednesday. He says the federal government continues to fine tune their response in the event of a threat to homeland security.
That's where these A&M architecture students come into play. They have come up with models for surge hospitals, ones that are designed to treat a large number of patients in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
"We remember after 9-11 the anthrax event that we still aren't sure how that came about, but never the less, it's a real world threat and we must prepare. The public expects us to be prepared for what we call all hazards," said Dr. Carmona
Dr. Paul Carlton is the director of homeland security at the A&M Health Science Center. He says surge hospitals are important in the event regular hospitals are over-extended.
"It's very conceivable that the first event in a bioterrorism denies you your hospital. You then have to reconsolidate your medical assets in some other place and that's what these are about," said Dr Carlton.
The students' designs adapt colleges, high schools, hotels and convention centers throughout the U-S into surge hospitals. Sydney Brown and her partner converted a hotel in the Woodlands into a surge hospital. They say they're enthusiastic about their project because it may one day help save lives.
" It could work in many cities all over the country. It's located in the suburbs, so people could flood to the suburbs and I think it's very flexible," said Brown.
Dr Carmona says surge hospitals must soon become a reality because the U.S. simply cannot afford to not be ready should disaster strike.