Medical response to Minnesota bridge collapse evaluated

Emergency Management Alert, September 15, 2008

Minneapolis Emergency Medical Service (EMS) teams had their hands full in August of last year when the Interstate 35W Bridge collapsed, resulting in 13 deaths and 127 injuries. A recent study, published by the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, praised medical response teams for their efficiency, but also cited the need for improvements.

The study found that hospitals were generally satisfied with their surge capacity and implementation of their incident management plan. However, issues of communication, patient tracking, and staff overreporting—all of which have arisen during past catastrophes—continued to be problematic.

In addition, first-responders did not have flotation devices to use when they entered the Mississippi River to rescue people, which local ambulances now carry. Ambulances also ran out of materials like neck collars, splints, and morphine.

For the complete study, click here.


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