With recent attention focused on Hurricane Isaac and its impact on the Gulf Coast and the Republican National Convention, a Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) mobile hospital that “earned its stripes” treating victims of Hurricane Katrina will be deployed during the upcoming Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte.
Carolinas MED-1, a first-of-its-kind prototype mobile hospital, will be conveniently placed near key DNC venues to provide treatment to any delegates or official visitors who need urgent or emergent healthcare. The main treatment vehicle is a 53-foot trailer with three expandable “pods” that create 1000 square feet of patient care space totaling 14 beds, including a two-bed operating room.
The mobile facility has been deployed four times: In 2005 to Waveland, Miss., just days after Hurricane Katrina; in 2006 to New Orleans, La., to provide support during the city’s first Mardi Gras following Katrina; in 2008 to Columbus, Ind., following flooding that crippled the city’s only hospital; and in 2011 to Phoenix, Ariz., to assist a Native American hospital that temporarily closed for renovations. For additional information on MED-1, including “green energy” technologies that will allow it to be more self-sufficient during a disaster deployment visit www.med1green.org.
Carolinas MED-1 is just one aspect of a comprehensive program of trauma services provided by CHS, the nation’s second largest not-for-profit, public healthcare system.
CHS currently is home to the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, the F.H. “Sammy” Ross Jr. Trauma Center at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC), which is the highest designation given by the American College of Surgeons. Additionally, CHS offers five other designated Level II and Level III Trauma Centers. Other urgent and emergent care services include:
- 37 Emergency Departments, 4 of them free standing
- 22 Urgent Care Centers
- More than 1,225,000 emergency patients treated in 2011, including approximately 4,500 trauma patients
- More than 650 care locations throughout North and South Carolina
- 33 Hospitals
The CHS Chest Pain Network includes nine accredited chest pain hospitals in the region that work together to provide heart attack patients with high-quality and efficient care. This network uses a protocol, called Code STEMI, which results in a patient being transferred to the closest appropriate hospital where blocked arteries can be opened, and CMC leads the nation in hospital arrival (door) to reperfusion (balloon) times. The median time from arrival at CMC until reperfusion is 38 minutes, with the national average at 59 minutes. For STEMI patients who are transferred from referral hospitals to CMC, the median time from arrival at the referral hospital until reperfusion is 87.5 minutes, compared to a national average of 110 minutes.
According to research in the American Heart Association’s Circulation, North Carolina’s coordinated, regional network developed to treat heart attack patients has not only improved survival, but is considered a national model for the standard of heart attack care. CHS is part of the Regional Approach to Cardiovascular Emergencies (RACE) project, from which the data was analyzed for this particular study.
Similar to the treatment process for heart attacks is the treatment of strokes by the Carolinas Stroke Network (CSN). The Network raises the current standards for stroke diagnosis and treatment among participating hospitals across the region. Participating hospitals have 24/7 access to stroke treatment experts who can help determine the best treatment plan for each patient and coordinate rapid transfer to comprehensive stroke centers for patients needing more advanced, specialized care.
The network's two comprehensive stroke centers are CMC and CMC-NorthEast, which hold Primary Stroke Center designations from The Joint Commission and whose stroke programs have received national awards for exemplary performance from the American Stroke Association.
The newest CHS facility that applies a network approach to care is Levine Cancer Institute, a truly one-of-a-kind model of integrated cancer care that connects the resources and cancer expertise of a network of affiliated hospitals and providers located across the Carolinas. This “cancer institute without walls” provides CHS’s more than 11,000 new patients per year with access to world-class research and breakthrough treatments where they live.
CHS is also nationally recognized for its patient care across several pediatric specialties. Since it’s inception in 2007, CHS’s Levine Children’s Hospital (LCH) has served the region as the leading provider of specialized, high-quality pediatric care for children from birth to young adulthood. LCH was ranked among the top 50 “Best Children’s Hospitals” in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in six pediatric specialties for 2012-2013.