Has your region struggled with the development of a regional unified medical command that is recognized by local EOCs, EMS providers, and healthcare facilities, and meets the HRSA grant requirements for regional planning?Does your VA Medical Center have Pitocin and know how to deliver babies? Can your pediatric hospital provide care for an obese congestive heart failure patient? Can your freestanding surgical hospitals accept and care for isolated trauma? Can your specialty hospitals without emergency rooms, accept 911-ambulance patients? Do you know your hospital helicopter landing coordinates?During a disaster, a unified approach to medical command provides rapid facilitation of patient triage and placement in appropriate facilities, coordinates with local, regional, state and federal initiatives, and helps ensure a stable medical infrastructure.During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Houston, Texas was placed in unique situations with the influx of evacuated populations from the Gulf Coast region, as well as evacuation of the Texas Gulf Coast and regions of East Texas. The leaders of the Disaster Unified Medical Command for the Houston region would like to share their experiences and lessons learned from these natural disasters. By doing so, the authors hope to encourage other areas of the nation to adopt this program for emergency responses.
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