Sandy Hook Tragedy Prompts Mass Casualty Preparedness Reviews 6PM

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

It's a scenario trauma surgeon Dr. Glenn Summers said he hopes he never has to experience, a mass casualty incident like last week's deadly shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

"Very saddened by exactly how bad it was," said Dr. Summers.

In this latest tragedy, emergency room officials never had to act on most of their training. Only three victims even made it to Danbury Hospital. But the sad story has prompted reviews of mass casualty prepardeness at hospitals across the country including Bay Medical Center in Panama City.

"The elective aspects of the hospital would be curtailed. Bed availability would be maximized," said Summers.

And it's not just so-called "man-made" mass casualties medical centers in Florida have to worry about. Being prepared to handle natural disasters is also a top priority. Dr. Summers said the key is maximizing resources as efficiently as possible.

"Recognize the limitations of the resources you have, and look outside the box in terms of what other availabilities you may have either with other institutions, transfer agreements, that sort of thing because if you get maxed out you have to have a way to still take care of those folks," Summers told NewsChannel 7.

There's also the safety of current patients and hospital staff. Bay Medical officials said they take that aspect of the situation very seriously. Protection Services Manager Otis Gatewood said the hospital goes through several training drills every year from what to do if a hurricane hits to what happens during an active shooter situation.

"Over 120 cameras, closed circuit cameras that we montior for security purposes. We have card-access to high security areas. We have 15 panic buttons," said Gatewood.

The security measures and casualty response plans are designed in case of an emergency with hopes of never putting that training to the test. But Bay Medical Center officials said they're well aware that tragedies like in Newtown can happen anywhere.


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