Emergency preparedness drill held at UAB Highlands

Infectious outbreak drill at UAB Highlands Hospital

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Is our healthcare system ready for a national emergency?

The answer comes during a multi-state test that started in a Birmingham emergency room today. At UAB Highlands Emergency department It’s like a scene from a movie – medical officials working to contain an infectious outbreak.

The procedures held on Monday covered the entire process; from receiving that patient here at the emergency room to transporting that patient safely and effectively to the proper medical facility that can handle such cases.

The drill sets a patient at the Emergency room. The patient has traveled from a tour of Africa where the Ebola virus is present, and that patient has symptoms of infection. The emergency response staff’s responsibility is to take the necessary precautions in recognizing that the patient has a serious infectious disease.

“Number one: did the staff respond appropriately? Number two: was the system in place,” says Bob Shepard, UAB Public University Relations.

That leads to the main question of the drill - does the procedures at the hospital cover the entire process?

From the emergency room, to the patient transportation unit equipped with special isolation facilities, and to a more restrictive facility that could handle a patient with Ebola or any other infectious diseases.

“I think we are as prepared as we can be. At UAB we have an emergency management committee that represents all the various disciplines in the hospital, all the business functions in the hospital. We meet on a regular basis and we have done threat assessments on what potential risks we might face and on what threats we might face. I think we are in a good place right now with the effort we put into this and the training that we have done on an ongoing basis,” Shepard says.

The drills are also held in six neighboring states through the Georgia Department of Health.

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