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Hackensack University Medical Center Mobile Rapid Response Program an Innovative Technology for Emergency Response
Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) is the beneficiary of $9.2 million subcontract from the Department of Defense to enhance medical technology and serve the medical, chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) defense needs of the Northeast population of the United States.
Earlier, Hackensack received planning awards totaling $3.2 million to begin work on a prototype to expand the region’s emergency medical response capability in the event of a mass casualty incident such as a terrorist attack, pandemic flu outbreak, or a natural or accidental emergency. This new capability will be demonstrated during an upcoming activation as part of the hospital’s strategic response plan for the H1N1 virus.
The contracts, totaling $14.8 million were awarded by the Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Under the terms of the DTRA contract, the project team is creating a prototype for a state of the art mass casualty incident response. Among the specific areas being addressed by the hospital in its response are equipment needs, training, staffing and the development of innovative medical care and treatment suitable for both civilian and military use and for technology transfer.
Earlier this year, Hackensack unveiled its prototype, the Mobile Rapid Response Program (MRRP). The program consists of two emergency trauma units or Mobile Acute Care Hospitals and four support vehicles. Each mobile hospital can be operational within one hour of arrival on the scene of an emergency and is housed in a 43-foot long trailer with expandable sides and a separate tractor. They are the only such mobile hospitals of this design in the country.
“It is an honor for Hackensack University Medical Center to be working with the DTRA on a matter of such great national importance,” said Robert L. Torre, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the HUMC Foundation. “The response protocols, technologies and operating systems that will be developed and enhanced by this program will significantly improve our ability to save lives in a medical emergency and serve as a model for our nation,” Torre added.
The next step in the program is use of the program for actual treatment of patients, which is scheduled for later this month. Responding to real-life conditions, HUMC will use the Mobile Acute Care Hospital as an emergency trauma unit to treat patients as part of its planning and preparation for the H1N1 virus outbreak.
“The biggest challenge in a pandemic is how to manage the surge in patient demand and how best to isolate infected patients from the rest of the hospital population to prevent the spread of disease,” said Joseph Feldman, M.D., Chairman of the HUMC Emergency Trauma Department. “We will be demonstrating this capability through use of the mobile trauma unit and a triage tent.”
“We are grateful for the support we have received from the Federal Government,” Dr. Feldman said in noting that the program represents a significant breakthrough in medical emergency preparedness and response. “We remain on track to deliver an effective and comprehensive regional medical surge capacity, technologies that will improve medical care in emergency situations and new protocols on how best to mitigate the health impact of a chemical or biological threat,” he added.
Each mobile unit includes:
- critical care beds
- digital x-ray and sonography systems
- oxygen generators
- telemedicine capabilities
- a field laboratory
- a pharmaceutical cache
- medical procedure lighting, and
- technology to seamlessly connect the operations of the two units
The support vehicles, in addition to carrying supplies and equipment, also include a communications center to coordinate and support emergency medical resources during incident operations and a Biological Incident Response Vehicle to conduct surveillance for toxic agents.
Hackensack University Medical Center is the designated host hospital for the Northern New Jersey Urban Area Security Initiative mobile emergency department program. Its responsibilities in that role include ensuring that the program is deployment ready at all times, enhancing the Northeast Region of the United States ability to respond to a medical or biological emergency and thereby limiting the effects of such an event on the lives of local residents.
To learn how you may support Hackensack University Medical Center’s Mobile Rapid Response Program, please contact Suzanne Lutwick at 201-996-3526. You may also select the Donate Now button on this page to make an on-line donation, or send your gift to Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation, 360 Essex Street, Suite 301, Hackensack, NJ 07601.