Archive for the ‘Emergency Preparedness’ Category

Hospital Participates in County-wide Ebola Drill
—Posted Friday, November 21st, 2014 at 2:12 pm— « »

Demonstration of use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

During Thursday’s county-wide Ebola drill, MCDH Housekeeper Rosa Ramos demonstrates the personal protection equipment (PPE) that would be used to keep Hospital staff safe from viral contamination in the event of the arrival of an actual Ebola patient. In addition, a respiratory hood would be added to ensure a fresh air supply.

Fort Bragg, California – November 21, 2014 — “Patient arrives at the Emergency Room; temperature 102.3◦ F, with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain. . . .” This scenario happens hundreds of times a year at the hospital.  However, this could be something much more serious than a case of the flu. Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) can present in much the same way. For that reason, Mendocino Coast District Hospital participated in the Mendocino County 2014 Statewide Medical and Health Functional Exercise.

During the exercise, Dr. Keith Curtis, an Emergency Medicine physician, nursing staff, and clerical support staff were challenged with an unannounced visit Thursday, November 20, from a person posing as a patient suffering symptoms of Ebola infection. Dr. Curtis and the nurses rapidly identified the serious condition of the mock patient by evaluating the patient’s recent travel history to Liberia in West Africa and the array of symptoms that were reported to the registration clerk. The nurse activated the Hospital Incident Command System, bringing all departments to high alert. The doctor notified the Mendocino County Public Health Department (MCPHD), Hospital Infection Control, and the Infectious Disease resource physician. The patient was directed to a safe location outside the ER, away from other patients. The nurse put on personal protective equipment (PPE) then guided the patient to a special isolation room where there would be no exposure to other patients or staff.

The Departmental Operations Center at MCPHD rapidly responded with a report that a specially designated ambulance was on the way to pick up the patient and transport her to the nearest Ebola treatment center.

The Hospital management team participated in the drill to study and improve the Hospital’s level of preparedness. Staff participation and enthusiasm was impressive! Specific steps to improve communication were identified. The Hospital Incident Command staff drilled on working with County Medical and Health Operational Area Program staff to requisition critical equipment and supplies of PPE. Volunteers from a number of departments are currently signing up for training in putting on and removing the personal protective equipment needed for this level of care.

As a result of this exercise, the Hospital will have an improved Ebola care plan to identify, isolate, notify appropriate agencies, and transfer the patient to the appropriate facility for care. The goals of the exercise were to have the patient cared for and staff able to safely return to their work, both of which were successfully met.

–Emmet O’Connell, MCDH Laboratory Manager and Infection Control Officer

Haiti Relief
—Posted Monday, January 25th, 2010 at 7:38 pm— « »

Dr. Surber (left) and Linda Dutcher (right)
Dr. Surber (left) and Linda Dutcher (right)

My heart goes out to all of the people of Haiti that have been devastated during the recent earthquakes and aftershocks.  I know that almost all of us wish, during times like this, that there was something that we could do to help.  That brings me to telling you all how proud I am to be associated with the staff that we have here at Mendocino Coast Hospital.  Shortly after the earthquake hit, I started to receive messages from staff members at our hospital inquiring if our hospital was aware of any way that they could contribute.  Then, there was perhaps the most exciting message of all.  Dr. Jennifer Surber, our newest Emergency Room doctor, announced that she had made arrangements to travel to Haiti to provide medical relief for the victims.  She got in touch with an organization called “Heart to Heart International.”  In addition to sending medical professionals to Haiti, they are also coordinating donations of supplies and hygiene kits. 


Power Outage on the Mendocino Coast
—Posted Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 at 6:20 pm— « »

MPj04100820000[3]One thing that I have learned from living on the Mendocino Coast is that we don’t need to spend a lot of time planning disaster drills.   Natural disasters seem to visit us regularly.  I have been here for 3 years and 3 months now.   Every single year we have had a power outage.   Not a power outage where our hospital is on emergency generator power for 10 minutes.   These are power outages where we are on emergency power from 10 to 24 hours.   Yesterday, January 19, 2010 we were without PG&E power from approximately 5:00 a.m. until approximately 2:30 p.m.  due to a severe rain storm that felled a forest tree that in turn knocked down a major power line that fed electrical power to the entire Mendocino Coast line.   Since we are conditioned for a power outage like this our hospital management team and staff spring into action immediately.   I could not be more proud of our entire team as they handled this emergency situation in a very professional and dedicated manner so that our patients would be inconvenienced as little as possible.   (more…)