Reeves Mobile Hospital Keeps Marathon Runners on Track
PASADENA, CA - On February 21, 2010, Kaiser Permanente, the largest not-for-profit health plan in the United States, unveiled its new DRASH medical surge facility at the 2010 Pasadena Marathon in California.
The facility – comprised of three 519 square foot DRASH MX5 Shelters and a 195 square foot DRASH 2XB Shelter – was used to treat more than 120 people.
Event medicine officials at Kaiser Permanente first became interested in purchasing a mobile surge facility more than five years ago as a way to treat patients directly onsite during sporting events, such as a marathon. After speaking with Kaiser Permanente Regional Emergency Preparedness Committee members it became clear that the health organization needed a system that was flexible enough to be used during any large-scale emergency situation.
“We originally requested a medical facility that we could use for sporting events, but as we began working with the director of Emergency Preparedness, it became obvious that we needed a facility that could be set up not only during a sporting event, but a large-scale emergency, such as an earthquake or other natural disaster, as well,” says Dr. Thad Hummel Woodward, Kaiser’s Regional Director of Event Medicine in Southern California.
Kaiser Permanente allocated the funding needed to purchase their medical surge facility following last year’s H1N1 outbreak. Though officials considered several shelter systems, they chose the nearly 1,700 square foot DRASH facility after learning of its flexible and mobile design.
“We spent a lot of time researching the different shelters out there, but we ultimately decided that DRASH best fit what we needed. The shelters are portable, easy to set up, flexible and durable,” says Woodward. “If these things are able to withstand conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are sure they can handle anything we throw at them.”
With help from DRASH Representative Ken Hall, Kaiser Permanente successfully deployed their new surge facility for the first time during last month’s marathon in Pasadena. Personnel used the system, which featured low and high acuity areas, an administrative center and check-in point, to treat runners for injuries sustained during the 26.2 mile race.
Officials at Kaiser Permanente plan to continue to use their DRASH surge facility for events across southern California. Woodward says that sporting events, such as the Pasadena Marathon, will provide personnel with the training they’ll need should they ever have to respond to a real-life disaster.
“We plan on treating every event as a disaster training exercise for our staff. Each time we set these shelters up we’re going to evaluate what we can do better to ensure that, should a disaster ever occur, we’re ready,” he says.
The DRASH medical surge facility will be set up at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Triathlon later this year.