ROCKFORD (WREX) –It looks like an ambulance — it sounds like one too.
However, the training ambulance at Mercyhealth is out of commission and the patient in it isn’t real. That’s because it’s one tool these trauma nurses at mercy health use to prepare for the worst — like the Las Vegas shooting that left nearly 60 people dead and 500 more injured.
“It’s very difficult to pretend for emergencies and these bring more of an element of realism to the students,” Dr. Matt Smetana, an emergency medical physician with Mercyhealth says.
But what if a similar situation like that happened here in Rockford when the patients are real and every second counts? Local hospitals we talked to say they’re ready — whether that’s changing up work titles or it’s switching up what areas of the hospital are used.
“We might be an administrative assistant 9 to 5 but if something happens in the community — we’re going to transformed into documenting patient names and patient information,” Stephanie Kuschel, the Mercyhealth Region 1 Hospital Emergency Preparedness Coordinator says.
“Once our ER is at capacity, we’ll start opening up departments to divert so the ER doesn’t get overwhelmed,” Jeff Brown, the disaster Preparedness Manager with OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center says.
While the tragedy in Las Vegas has hospitals across the country looking at their own procedures — this is something OSF, Swedish American, and Mercyhealth say they have been preparing for. Those health systems and local law enforcement are set to have an emergency drill to freshen up their skills in the wake of a disaster.
“We’ve been preparing for what’s recently happened in Las Vegas — we’ve been preparing for the past couple months and meet and gather together to meet,” Amy Helms, the Trauma Coordinator with OSF Saint Anthony says. “There’s no competition in this town with disaster preparedness.”
Important practice for an occasion these health professionals hope they will never have to see.
The city says the 300 block of Elm Street from Main Street to Church Street and the 200 block of South Main from Elm Street to Chestnut Street will be blocked off from 10 a.m. To 6 p.m. on October 11th for the emergency drill.
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