August 13, 2008

Hospital ‘Code D’ Practice Pays Off — Baptist-DeSoto Well- Prepared for Disaster

By Yolanda Jones

The staff of Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto practiced a monthly emergency disaster drill two weeks ago.

Sunday, when staff suddenly got the word that 27 passengers from a Harrah's bus crash in Tunica were headed their way, the time for practice was over.

"I was at church when I got the call, and we put everyone on 'Code D' standby," said Dr. Stanley Thompson, medical director of the hospital's emergency room.

Code D is the hospital's disaster mode. When it's implemented, additional staff from doctors to nurses to chaplains are called in.

"We make sure we have enough staff and supplies such as blood and stretchers," said Jennifer Davis, a charge nurse in the emergency room.

As soon as the ambulances from the crash pulled in, the emergency room crew was there to meet them, she said.

"We were in the ambulances assessing their injuries and putting tags on them so they would be routed immediately to the right areas once in the hospital," Davis said. "It seemed like hours and days as we waited for all of them to come in."

Dr. Thompson said the patients were in stable condition and most were non-critical when they arrived.

"But when we got the call, we didn't know how serious their injuries were going to be," he said. "We just knew to be prepared."

Five of the 27 victims brought to the hospital were admitted. Two were discharged Monday.

Hospital officials said on a typical Sunday, they treat 140 patients in the emergency room. When an emergency is declared, patients already being treated are moved to make room.

Baptist-DeSoto has 35 beds in its emergency department, and 16 already there Sunday were transferred to make sure there was enough room for the bus victims.

"I've been a nurse for 14 years and I've seen a lot of disasters, and this emergency department was where you needed to be," Davis said. "Everything went flawless."

- Yolanda Jones: (662) 996-1474

Originally published by Yolanda Jones [email protected] .

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