As Kansas City and San Francisco football players prepare to be at their best in Sunday’s big game, South Florida hospitals are standing by to be ready for the worst-case scenario.
Medical teams were realistic about what hundreds of thousands of extra people in our area could mean - the potential for a catastrophe.
“Unfortunately it’s the time we are in, we’re at a heightened security, heightened awareness that we have to be that way,” said Aventura Hospital Director of Emergency Services Rochelle Ming-Chance.
For months, Ming-Chance and her team have prepped for a possible mass-casualty event on Super Bowl weekend, so they’re ready to respond if it happens. That means assigning extra staff, and practicing hazmat drills more often, two in January alone, so everything is fresh in the staff’s minds and they can hit the ground running.
“We want to make sure the team would be able to manage the EMS and walk-ins, because in any mass casualty incident we can’t rely that everyone will come thru EMS, we have to be prepared that they’ll start walking through that door; how do we manage, how to we make sure they get the care they need timely?” Ming-Chance said.
The ER at Aventura Hospital is equipped to isolate patients if need be with negative pressure rooms. They had two more installed during a 2017 expansion, bringing the total to four.
“It could be disease, bioterrorism, no matter what it is, once it requires quarantine, that’s the room they’ll go to,” Ming-Chance said.
They even set up an incident command center in recent drills so all hands were on deck and staff could analyze and debrief about what worked and what needed work.
Staff expect to see more people in the emergency room this weekend because it’s one of the closest trauma centers to Hard Rock Stadium, but they hope all the extra training is just good practice.
“You’re hoping that you’re overreacting. That’s the best way I can put it I hope we’re overreacting but I’d rather we overreact than to be underprepared,” Ming-Chance said.