An epidemic caused by influenza or other infectious disease outbreak, a WMD or naturally occurring catastrophe could result in ‘mega casualties’. The customary health care infrastructure may become insufficient or completely incapacitated. Vital resources of health care personnel, materials, and equipment will likely be in short supply. One method to manage a massive influx of patients or to decompress saturated hospitals is the utilization of temporary medical treatment stations (TMTS).
There are two distinct event categories that could require the utilization of a TMTS
- EMERGENT: Likely to require a rapid deployment in response to a sudden catastrophe. Mutual aid will likely be available, although on an unknown time schedule. Potential scenarios include an evacuated population and infrastructure function paralyzed or destroyed. The scope of care provided will be fluid and based on responder medical skill level, leadership and organizational capability, available mobile supplies, as well as the specific patient needs. The extent of the mission will likely be short term, with the acute needs phase lasting less than 2 weeks. Though certain circumstances, like an earthquake impacting multiple states, may require a longer time frame.
- STRATEGIC: Likely last step in managing an extended medical surge event due to an outbreak or Bio-Terrorism (BT) event. Mutual aid will likely be nonexistent. Scope of care should be pre-determined and based on a well-defined mission (lowest acuity or palliative, for instance). This determination will help with focusing clinical providers and in defining essential equipment and supply needs. The TMTS may be needed for many weeks to months.
Given the range of planning requirements to develop contingencies for epic events like those listed above, the aim of this guide is to provide fundamental samples of operational principles as an interim plan until a more comprehensive tool becomes available.
This guide was developed with input from; experienced disaster healthcare responders, community and regional partners, and subject matter experts from many disciplines. The forms were taken directly from substantiated sources as well as from disaster response teams from various areas of the country.
Like any other operations document, it is most important to review BEFORE you need it. Moreover, your review and subsequent feedback can help us make this even more useful in future versions. Comments and suggestion should be sent in via this webpage.