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Exercise tests mobile field hospital
The MDCH Office of Public Health Preparedness (OPHP) took part in a full-scale exercise the week of May 16 to prepare and coordinate a multiple-jurisdictional integrated response to a national catastrophic event using Michigan's Transportable Emergency Surge Assistance Medical Unit (MI-TESA).
MI-TESA is a 140-bed mobile field hospital. In the event a disaster has overwhelmed medical resources, MI-TESA could be deployed and set up virtually anywhere to treat patients in need of primary care.
MI-TESA is a state-wide resource. Purchased almost entirely with federal funds, it could also be deployed out of state if requested.
The disaster drill at the Summit at the Capital Centre in Lansing marked the first time the complete mobile field hospital (a 100-bed facility is housed in Southeast Michigan and a 40-bed facility is housed in Southwest Michigan) was utilized in a full-scale drill with teams of emergency health professionals.
Dr. Jenny Atas, medical director of Region 2 South, Dr. William Fales, medical director of Region 5, and Dr. Jacqueline S. Scott, director of OPHP, led the drill, which was part of the National Level Exercise simulating the catastrophic nature of a major earthquake in the central United States region of the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
MI-TESA would provide medical assistance to patients in need of primary care that are expected to be released within 23 hours of admission. Admitted patients would have symptoms or conditions similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, congestive heart failure, chronic pain syndrome, behavioral conditions, and patients needing IV hydration and IV antibiotic therapy. These are the conditions and symptoms consistent with the type of care rendered in the mobile medical facilities during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The structure includes:
The facilities include but are not limited to:
MI-TESA is a valuable resource that hopefully will never have to be used, but the roughly 14,000 square foot mobile hospital is a tremendous asset which can be mobilized in its entirety or in pieces, depending upon the need. A number of individuals, including MDCH Director Olga Dazzo, state and local partners, and legislative staff members, toured MI-TESA on May 17 and 18.
According to Dr. Scott, MI-TESA makes us a stronger Michigan, but it is the willingness of volunteers and health professionals to step forward and give care to others during times of tragedy and distress that is most impressive.
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