Local Hospitals: Staff Ready in Times of Mass Trauma

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In the wake of Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech, hospitals in that area were flooded with patients during a short amount of time.

In the Brazos Valley, both the College Station Medical Center and St. Joseph Regional Health Center have emergency disaster plans in place, if a similar event were to occur.

"We're able to get additional staff, nursing staff, laboratory technicians staff, x-ray staff and even start to get operating rooms ready within minutes, of getting notification," said Dr. Charlie Williams, of the College Station Medical Center.

"Several times a year we do various types of disasters, and they might be terrorist related, or bio-chemical, or different types of scenarios, where we work with different county agencies," said Tim Ottinger, of St. Joseph Regional Health Center.

In times of emergency, both hospitals work together to disperse the patients where staff and space is available.
Emergency plans at both hospitals have been activated in the past.

"We increased the amount of staff we had here with the Aggie Bonfire," said Williams. "But more recently here with the hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, when we had an influx of patients within the community."

"We did learn a lot from Bonfire, that we needed to have the resources available, prepared and readily accessible," said Ottinger. "I think we're far better off now than before 9-11, or before Bonfire to get those resources."

If needed, both hospitals can create additional space within current rooms, put beds in hallways, and even open non-treatment rooms to victims.

"When a disaster comes around that medical care is involved, our staff is here,"said Ottinger.