"Preparation is everything," said Stanford's chief of trauma and critical care surgery, David Spain, MD, when I asked him about the breathtaking response by the Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospital staff who helped care for the influx of Asiana Airlines crash victims July 6.
In the past year, they've participated in two large-scale mass-casualty exercises: One, an active-shooter scenario, was a statewide effort; the other, an earthquake scenario, was a joint training with Stanford University, Stanford University School of Medicine, Santa Clara County and Palo Alto.
Maybe most fortuitously, just last month as part of a Stanford Office of Emergency Management training program, every emergency department nurse completed training for triaging disaster casualties, and then on June 14, just three weeks before the crash, emergency management program managers Eric Giardini and Laura Harwood ran a simulation with the whole emergency department of "code triage" -- exactly the scenario faced after the plane crash.
When I talked about that simulation with Brandon Bond, the administrative director of the emergency management office, he told me how valuable it proved to be: "They set up the patient triage system in the ambulance bay, deployed the triage disaster supplies as well as simulated patient triage. Every component that the team had exercised last month was utilized during the event July 6."
Previously: After the plane crash: Inside the command center with Stanford Hospital’s chief of staff, Behind-the-scenes look at treating SFO plane-crash survivors, "Everyone came together right away:” How Stanford response teams treated SFO plane-crash victims
Photograph, of medical teams receiving patients at the Marc and Laura Andreessen Emergency Department, by Brandon Bond