Fort Cavazos, Texas - Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s departments and staff exercised its medical operations center and emergency department during the Fort Cavazos Full-Scale Exercise July 11.
Coordinating with the III Armor Corps, Fort Cavazos Garrison, Directorate of Emergency Services, and Central Texas area emergency responders and community partner hospitals, the hospital received moulage patients injured from a scenario where an on-post wildfire spread to a housing area on post.
The hospital activated its command center, its manpower labor pool, which allows civilian and military personnel to help in the hospital where needed, as its emergency department received role playing patients and treated them or transferred them to local community partner hospitals Seton and Advent.
The hospitals command center, up and running in a short 13 minutes and comprised of every department in the hospital, communicated internally and externally with partners on and off post.
One of its main goals was to exercise its Medical Emergency Management Plan and better prepare the hospital for incidents that could occur either on the installation or in the surrounding communities, according to Charles Elam, emergency operations specialist, CRDAMC.
“This type of event allows the hospital to refine our procedures and improve the care we provide our patients during an emergency of any scale,” said Elam. “The hospital was able to respond and care for the patients that were presented, identify areas that we can sustain and that need improving.”
“Fantastic work by everybody,” said Col. Garrick Cramer. “We strive for excellence never for perfection.”
I’ve learned over the years that everything comes at a cost, so if we focus a lot of energy on making this perfect… what else are we not doing right, he added.
New to CRDMAC and a hospital emergency room environment, Sgt. 1st Class Briana Betts, combat medic specialist, CRDAMC emergency department, thought the experience provided herself and the team good training.
“There is a big difference in working in the hospital than being a front-line medic,” said Betts. “Being able to treat the [scenario] people we could and still provide patients coming into the emergency room with care, I think overall we did a good job.”
In the emergency department a lot of the doctors and nurses know their roles and are very good at them but coming into a hospital and never experiencing an event like this requires a big adjustment, she commented.
“Preparing for and exercise like this is part of our daily routine,” said Dr. Cord Cunningham, emergency medicine. “We don’t know the density of how many people are going to show up at any given time.”
As an emergency and emergency medical services physician, I view a multiple casualty event as a no fail mission, and that’s really the mindset of our specialty and subspecialty, is to prepare for the worst, he added.