PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Dr. Rick Hong, the Division Head of Disaster Medicine at Cooper University Health Care addressed the medical response to the Amtrak train derailment.

Hong told Rich Zeoli on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT he was pleased with the way the medical community came together to treat the victims of the crash.

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“This is really considered a disaster because you, basically, do not have the resources needed at that moment in time and you had to bring in additional resources. Multiple hospitals were involved in this situation, so really it was great to see the teamwork that was going on to address this situation.”

He said making sure those in the most need of care are prioritized at the scene so doctors are prepared when they arrive at the hospital.

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“It’s not first-come, first-served. We have to weigh in the acuity of the presentation and that’s also the same in disaster medicine, and maybe even more important, because we have fewer resources available. There is a disaster triage mechanism involved. We have to work closely with the pre-hospital providers because they really are the first triage officers on the scene. They have a designated triage process in this type of situation and the hospitals must adapt to that triage system so we work hand-to-hand to determine who really needs those resources first.”

Hong also pointed out that hospitals take precautions when dealing with emergencies like the train derailment to allocate resources for urgent care patients not connected to the event.

“When EMS is involved in this type of situation, they have to remember the fact that there are other patients that may need 911 besides the ones in that big incident, so they may have to divert patients to other hospitals. From a hospital perspective, we are prepared, and we must be prepared for, also, those non-disaster patients coming in because we do see patients on a regular basis that aren’t involved in a disaster situation.”


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