Major Incident Hospital: Development of a Permanent Facility for Management of Incident Casualties

Marres, Geertruid; Bemelman, Michael; van der Eijk, John; Leenen, Luke
June 2009
European Journal of Trauma & Emergency Surgery;Jun2009, Vol. 35 Issue 3, p203
Academic Journal
Preparation is essential to cope with the challenge of providing optimal care when there is a sudden, unexpected surge of casualties due to a disaster or major incident. By definition, the requirements of such cases exceed the standard care facilities of hospitals in qualitative or quantitative respects and interfere with the care of regular patients. To meet the growing demands to be prepared for disasters, a permanent facility to provide structured, prepared relief in such situations was developed. A permanent but reserved Major Incident Hospital (MIH) has been developed through cooperation between a large academic medical institution, a trauma center, a military hospital, and the National Poison Information Centre (NVIC). The infrastructure, organization, support systems, training and systematic working methods of the MIH are designed to create order in a chaotic, unexpected situation and to optimize care and logistics in any possible scenario. Focus points are: patient flow and triage, registration, communication, evaluation and training. Research and the literature are used to identify characteristic pitfalls due to the chaos associated with and the unexpected nature of disasters, and to adapt our organization. At the MIH, the exceptional has become the core business, and preparation for disaster and large-scale emergency care is a daily occupation. An Emergency Response Protocol enables admittance to the normally dormant hospital of up to 100 (in exceptional cases even 300) patients after a start-up time of only 15 min. The Patient Barcode Registration System (PBR) with EAN codes guarantees quick and adequate registration of patient data in order to facilitate good medical coordination and follow-up during a major incident. The fact that the hospital is strictly reserved for this type of care guarantees availability and minimizes impact on normal care. When it is not being used during a major incident, there is time to address training and research. Collaboration with the NVIC and infrastructural adjustments enable us to not only care for patients with physical trauma, but also to provide centralized care of patients under quarantine conditions for, say, MRSA, SARS, smallpox, chemical or biological hazards. Triage plays an important role in medical disaster management and is therefore key to organization and infrastructure. Caps facilitate role distribution and recognizibility. The PBR resulted in more accurate registration and real-time availability of patient and group information. Infrastructure and a plan is not enough; training, research and evaluation are necessary to continuously work on disaster preparedness. The MIH in Utrecht (Netherlands) is a globally unique facility that can provide immediate emergency care for multiple casualties under exceptional circumstances. Resulting from the cooperation between a large academic medical institution, a trauma center, a military hospital and the NVIC, the MIH offers not only a good and complete infrastructure but also the expertise required to provide large-scale emergency care during disasters and major incidents.


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