Doctors Hospital prepared for the unthinkable this past week — an active shooter incident.
It was part of a county-wide active shooter drill Wednesday afternoon that involved all hospital departments and employees with be.tech high school students and hospital volunteers posing as victims and family members.
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and hospital staff RN Don Claus said that he had a “really good team” working together on the drill.
From the emergency room to surgery, laboratories, radiology and registration to social services and security they were all working together during the drill.
“We had to simulate real conditions the best we could,” Claus said. “By simulating as close to realism as possible and demonstrating the responses with enough people to be in the right places at the right times was of utmost importance. We would bring patients in a surge as seen in other active shooter situations.”
The scenario for the active shooter event began at Bear Creek High School in Stockton and involved all of the medical facilities in San Joaquin County.
There were no “victims” transported by ambulance to Manteca. That left it to volunteers to fill that void. The high school students had makeup applied to simulate the broken legs and gunshot wounds as victims. The scenario even saw emergency personnel work on a pregnant school teacher who “broke a leg” in running away from a shooter.
“I can’t tell you how many kudos the students got from the hospital staff for doing such a great job,” Claus noted.
He added that often times past drills have been seen as an annoyance but with all the active shootings happening across the country, the staff realized it could happen here – causing them to be intense to their duties and to the situations at hand.
“They were dead serious in their response because they know it could be real,” he said.
Preparing for the drill took more than six months, Claus said.
Claus added that no one among the staff or volunteers knew the scenario of the drill – other than there would be a drill. They had no warning.
The hospital medical staff was also praised for doing their part in the drill and keeping the activity separate from actual emergency room requirements of actual patients as the hospital command center was buzzing in a conference room with administrators coordinating the action.
Communications from the command center were crucial in telling other hospitals and the EMS agency what Doctors’ capabilities were in handling the shooting victims so they could coordinate care around the county as part of their system. There were some 13 patients who came in from the staged shooting incident and others who walked into the ER not knowing it was in crisis.
The state and county had established a framework for the drill but each hospital designed a drill to test its own hospital’s protocols and determine their effectiveness in crisis.
The drill is being followed up with analytical reports.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.