Safety

Tip of the week: Take this somber look at evacuation decision-making

Hospital Safety Insider, January 23, 2008

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In disasters like the one that Hurricane Katrina imposed on Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans--where 34 patients died in the storm's aftermath--doctors need more help making decisions about whom to evacuate and when. At least that's the take of a national correspondent for the New England Journal of Medicine.

In a somber January 3 essay, Susan Okie, MD, wrote that improving triage training during disaster drills will give hospital staff members a better idea of how to deal with pressure-packed situations. As the New Orleans cases shows, such situations force instant decisions of palliative care versus evacuation of terminal patients whose survival is not guaranteed.

The Journal's article also attempts to chronicle the choices made by clinicians at Memorial Medical as the situation grew dire following Katrina.

To read the full story, click here.



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