Scripps Health Preparing for Deployment of Medical Response Team to Haiti

Scripps would staff California mobile field hospital

San Diego – In response to the disastrous earthquake in Haiti, the State of California has asked Scripps Health to prepare its Hospital Administrative Support Unit (HASU) and the Scripps Medical Response Team (SMRT) for deployment to Haiti with one of the state’s mobile field hospitals. The deployment would be under the authority of the State of California and the United States government.

At this time, Scripps is waiting for final notice of deployment and has enlisted nearly 100 medical personnel – physicians, nurses, technicians and administrators – to staff a mobile field hospital. Teams of approximately 55 will serve two weeks in Haiti and be replaced by a new team of volunteers.

“There are people suffering in Haiti and we have an opportunity to reach out in a very real way because of our expertise and experience after Hurricane Katrina to staff and run a mobile field hospital and bring care to those in desperate need,” said Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder, who will join the first Scripps team to Haiti.

California maintains three mobile field hospitals available for medical support. A 23,000-square-foot mobile field hospital is designed to provide a completely self-sustained emergency medical operation with 222 beds within 72 hours.

The mobile hospital includes a power generation system, HVAC systems, electrical distribution systems, and specialized mobile medical equipment including ventilators, monitors, diagnostic equipment, portable oxygen delivery systems, emergency/triage facilities, an operating room, two intensive care units with a total of 20 beds, 180 ward beds, and mobile radiology, laboratory and pharmacy supply units. It requires space of approximately two football fields to set up and operate.

The hospital is designed to also provide for special patient population needs including pediatric care units, obstetrics and gynecology units, orthopedic and neurology units and a negative pressure isolation ward for highly infectious patients. The mobile hospital is equipped to provide meals for all patients and staff, potable water service, waste water removal, trash removal, medical waste removal, showers, toilets, laundry facilities, oxygen cylinder refill service and fuel delivery service for power generation systems. In addition, it includes a 6,500 square foot complex to house medical staff.

In the aftermath of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Scripps Health established an office of disaster preparedness, which deploys the Scripps Medical Response Team in times of medical emergency.

SMRT has been deployed at home and out of state to assist disaster survivors.

  • In 2005, 78 SMRT members spent three weeks in Houston providing free medical services to Hurricane Katrina evacuees, treating approximately 5,000 patients. Scripps’ support marked the first time the federal government asked a private health care organization for long-term support for a nationally organized disaster relief plan.
  • In October 2007, SMRT was deployed to Rancho Bernardo at the request of the San Diego Fire Department to set up a mobile field clinic for those affected by wildfires. Over the course of 11 days, 121 physicians, nurses and support staff provided breathing treatments, basic first aid, flu shots, prescription writing and grief counseling and support to more than 700 patients, at no cost.

Also in 2007, the California Emergency Medical Services Authority invited Scripps to develop the internal administrative processes and procedures for running three large mobile field hospitals purchased by the state. The three 220-bed mobile field hospitals would be deployed in disaster situations when existing hospitals are at capacity or unable to remain open due to a disaster.

  • In September 2008, HASU was placed on standby to deploy with the Mobile Field Hospital if needed during Hurricane Ike aftermath.
  • In November 2008, HASU deployed to March Air Force Base to support the Mobile Field Hospital (MFH) during the Statewide Golden Guardian Field Exercise. The HASU team had responsibility for the MFH operations that included treatment of 200 volunteer patients.

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