Carolinas MED-1, Carolinas HealthCare System’s mobile hospital, was part of a multi-state disaster exercise in early March. Seven thousand United States Army and Air National Guard troops and civilian emergency management personnel centered most of their efforts in Georgetown, SC. The mock drill mirrored what happened during Hurricane Hugo, the massive 1989 storm that devastated much of the area’s Low Country.
The purpose of the exercise was to test the ability of military and civilian agencies to work together in such an emergency.
During the drill, MED-1 was stationed at the county airport where mock patients received treatment. Those deemed critical were stabilized and then quickly transferred to hospitals that were still operational. Other patients, with burns, penetrating injuries from wind-whipped shards of glass, pieces of wood and metal, and similar wounds received appropriate care on-site. All patients were made up by professional make-up artists so that the injuries were realistic-looking.
National Guard leadership carefully observed MED-1 activities. Deputy Adjutant General Major General Gregory Batts visited on Sunday, March 8. The next day General Frank Grass, Chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (pictured center left), spent more than 30 minutes at MED-1 and had a chance to watch patient care.
Dave Callaway, MD, MED-1 operational medical director (pictured right), conducted both tours and answered dozens of questions. Both officers were interested in how quickly the mobile hospital can see patients once deployed, and that is within 45 minutes of arrival.
Dr. Callaway is a former Navy physician who deployed with the Marines in Iraq in 2003.