Wednesday, March 30, 2005

NEIGHBORS>> CHS mock Disaster

Drill prepares Cabot medical academy students for crisis
By Sara Greene
Leader staff writer

"Where’s my son? I heard there was an explosion! Where is he?” screamed a hysterical mother.
That was the scene as the Medical Academy at Cabot High-I (MACH-I) conducted two mock disaster drills Friday to help students get a feel for working during a crisis.

MACH-I used White County Medical Center’s Career and Medical Profession (CAMP) program. It is a six-day program requiring five days of classroom training. On the sixth day, the disaster drill allows students to work in tandem with Cabot’s emergency service and medical personnel from White County Medical Center.

Students in MACH-I are already certified in basic first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

“Several years ago we developed this program to get junior high school students interested in the health profession. Our program today is a little more advanced,” said Todd Wolfe, education coordinator at White County Medical Center.

Both disaster drills revolved around a mock explosion in the cafeteria. In the morning exercise, students shadowing the emergency response personnel found 17 “wounded” MACH-I students sprawled among overturned chairs in the cafeteria.

“We had the drama department help us out with the make-up for the injuries, the blood and gore,” said Randy Granderson, assistant principal and MACH-I director.

“We sent out notes with all the students and alerted our local law enforcement. We didn’t want passerbys to panic if they see the injured students and the ambulance. This is important for our students, but they can have fun with it too.”

The injuries included burns, spinal injuries, broken bones, cuts, bruises and shock. The emergency services students inventoried and assessed the wounded. Some of the victims moaned painfully while others giggled, unable to maintain an injured persona. The seriously injured were stabilized and taken by stretcher to the “hospital” in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps building. The less injured walked to the hospital.

Student administrators filled out forms and triage students ordered patients to radiology, lab/pharmacy, trauma, surgery or the waiting room. The entire building buzzed with the controlled chaos of an actual emergency room.

Granderson had some surprises in store for students participating in the morning disaster drill.
The trauma students were busy dealing with a seriously wounded patient when a hysterical woman came in screaming for her son.

Some stopped to stare and were encouraged to focus on their jobs by White County Medical Center emergency room staff. Students in hospital administration called codes for security to escort the woman, Mandee Carmical, a biology teacher at Cabot, from the area.

Moments later, Granderson feigned a heart attack and confusion ensued as both triage and trauma teams worked on him while more wounded arrived.

“It’s been fun, especially when Mrs. Carmical came in screaming like that,” said victim No. 10, holding a gauze pad on her facial laceration.

The entire disaster drill lasted about 45 minutes. Afterwards, students peeled off their bandages and wounds to participate in a brief question-and-answer session. The discussion focused on the variety of careers available in healthcare including accounting, administration and lab work.

“We’ve got CAMP copyrighted and we’ve received calls from all over, including California,” said Pam Williams, human resource director at White County Medical Center.

“There aren’t many programs like this. I’m enthusiastic about it. It shows students there’s more to the healthcare profession than just nursing,” she added.