MUSC's Center for Health Professional Training and Emergency Response (CHPTER) hosted a conference July 16 with state leaders to address South Carolina's "C" rating in disaster preparedness.
The conference initiated a discussion about how to strengthen and streamline emergency systems.
Lancer Scott, M.D., MUSC Emergency Services, said that about 30 ideas were considered that may one day be part of legislature or policy. "This is the first step. It is all about ideas today."
Emergency Services' Dr. Lancer Scott discusses emergency preparedness during a conference with state leaders July 16.
The past shows the consequence of a lack of preparation. In 2005, during the days after Hurricane Katrina, a limited supply of health care providers in a New Orleans airport aided victims. With an overload of 2,500 patients, eight to 10 people died each day until federal help arrived.
"We all saw what happened after Hurricane Katrina," Scott said. "Patients flocked to hospitals, airports and other facilities, and bad things happened to them. We want to be prepared for our communities in need. It takes well-developed emergency and trauma systems and a well-trained patient care workforce. Right now, we are lacking in these departments."
The conference focused on issues in South Carolina emergency health care systems, such as the 62 percent of South Carolina nurses who have not had disaster training. The small percentage contributed to the state receiving a "C" in disaster preparedness from the American College of Emergency Physicians 2009 National Report Card. Less than half of patient care providers are required to train for disasters by employers.
According to Scott, the conference is about a group of community leaders trying to prepare South Carolina before the next disaster hits.
"It's the right thing to do and the right time to do it. We know the next disaster is coming. We are long overdue."
Lancer said the center has developed a regional training collaborative of disaster medical experts to provide patient care providers advanced, performance-based disaster training. Whereas most disaster training courses are designed for first responders, CHPTER training targets first receivers.
To learn more about CHPTER, visit www.musc.edu/chpter or call 792-9705.