TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Is Toledo prepared for a mass casualty event? The short answer is yes.
By all accounts, Toledo may be one of the best prepared cities for mass disaster. All three major medical establishments have Level One Trauma Centers.
Even cities that are much larger only have one Level One Trauma Center.
"Clearly our community is prepared for that, we practice on an annual basis," says Dr. Kris Brickman M.D. who is the Department of Emergency Medicine Chairman at the University of Toledo Medical Center.
Brickman goes onto say that the main difference between Level One and Level Two Trauma Centers is the hospital's affiliation with research. "As far as technically, your ability to manage a trauma patients between a one and two, there is no difference."
All three local trauma centers use a color coded triage system. Jason Back is the Promedica Toledo Hospital Emergency Specialist, "You would have a red zone, a yellow zone and a green zone, and those colors connect to the levels of victims that we receive," says Back.
Green is for the walking wounded, Yellow is for people with injuries that are able to stabilized, and Red is for urgent critical injuries. In the event of a mass casualty setting, these colors are used to organize and prioritize patients according to their injuries.
Dr. Daniel Schwerin heads up the Trauma team at Mercy St. Vincent Medican Center and he says the mantra of mass casualty care is, "Doing the most with the least amount of resources available."
Schwerin says staff for mass casualty incidents is all planned out ahead of time.
"We have a staff of about 20 physicians, and depending on whether they had to pull from the hospital itself, easily 20 to 30 nurses." says Schwerin.
And if there is a back up of patients, then a regional plan is put in place, "We can take patients down to Lima, across to Indiana, up to Michigan and across to Cleveland and utilize our helicopter services."
"At the end of the day, I don't think you can actually truly feel ready for something like this!"