Hospital Goes Mobile

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli
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May 31, 2006

With the threat of bird flu pending and Katrina still fresh in our mind--how prepared are our hospitals for emergencies like these?

In case of emergencies or natural disasters central Virginia hospitals can call on the STIP, which is this mobile hospital for assistance.

"The STIPs are designed to be used for expanding the ability for the hospital to deal with patients during a disaster," said Trauma Surgeon Dr. Carol Gilbert.

This hospital is transported in one truck and can be set-up in one hour.

"The STIP is designed to be able to resuscitate patients who have major trauma problems or major medical problems," said Gilbert.

In these hospitals doctors can support someone on oxygen, treat burns, stuck tubes down your throat, and even put on splints.

In the back of the tent is the isolation part behind a plastic sheet, which prevents the spread of airborne diseases.

The only air that leaves the room is through a filter.

"That way if a patient does have a contagious or suspected contagious disease, say anthrax or the flu or something like that, we're not blowing the air from the patient through the rest of the patients in the STIP.

One of these units exist for our area and is shared by all of the hospitals.

"It's absolutely essential because although hospitals may compete at normal times, they should not be competing during a disaster situation," said Gilbert.

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