Tri-Star Hendersonville Medical Center conducted a disaster exercise in conjunction with The Great American ShakeOut on October 16, 2014. TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center responded to an imagined impact from an earthquake by experiencing structural damage, medical gas failure and a large amount of patients coming into the Emergency Department seeking treatment. While patients were being evaluated within the facility and the Critical Care Unit was determined to be evacuated, the Emergency room began receiving ambulance patients and walk-in patients that quickly overwhelmed the system. The total of 26 patients, who attend Hillwood High School, were given tags with their complaints, injuries or other information that they needed to provide the medical providers.
The students did a great job acting the parts that they were given and even had one student that had to play “dead” during a cardiac arrest situation. Several other students participated as patients that were evacuated down the stairs from the Critical Care Unit via an Evacuation Chair along with the MedSled evacuation devices. The presence of actual patients has a significant impact on the nurses and medical facility creating an increased stress level that simulates a real disaster. These exercises help the facilities develop and adjust plans and procedures on how to manage large groups of patients that come into their Emergency Departments and this would not have been as successful without the participation of these Hillwood students. The event concluded after an hour and the students were released to enjoy a boxed lunch in the cafeteria.