Rural Medicine: Mass Casualty Incident
Vanessa Cardy, MD; Derek Blanchet, MD; Anjali Oberai, MD; Dannica Switzer, MD; David Boyle, MD; and Michel Lapierre, RN
- Case: A motor vehicle collided with a moose on a dark, rural road. EMS responded and found multiple victims, including children. EMS personnel had limited resources and were not trained to do advanced procedures. The closest hospital was a small hospital staffed with a single family medicine physician. Once notified of the incoming patients, the physician called staff at home to come in and help.
- Most triage protocols are geared toward urban settings and assume a certain level of resources and shorter transport times.In rural settings, these may not apply.
- Decisions regarding the transfer of seriously injured patients to far-away tertiary care centers is difficult but necessary in cases where local resources are limited.
- A “mass casualty incident” can be defined by the number of patients that will overwhelm your hospital.
- Critical incidents like this require debriefing. This not only includes debriefing staff due to the emotional trauma they have experienced (second victim syndrome) but also debriefing as to operational changes that may be necessary to better equip the department and hospital should a similar situation arise again.