Trauma Teams Tested After I-10 Accident

Melinda Tyson got an emergency phone call before sunrise. The trauma coordinator had to report to Ocean Springs Hospital.

"I thought it was going to be completely chaotic," she remembered.

Yet when she arrived at the emergency room, she saw stretchers in place, and a very calm staff ready to treat seven incoming patients.

"It was the most uniform, completely uniform that we've ever had our trauma team activation."

As soon as Ocean Springs Hospital heard about the mass casualty event on I-10, it activated its hospital emergency incident command system.

Cricket Gilbert made most of the emergency phone calls. She heads up the ER nursing staff.

"It took us about 30 minutes to get all seven in and settled and be evaluated by the physicians."

Gilbert's ER team used three of its four trauma rooms to initially treat the injured accident victims.

Five hours after the first patients arrived, she took WLOX News into one of the trauma rooms, and explained what it was like.

"There would have been a stretcher here with the patient on it."

Around the patient in this room was a trauma team, including personnel from radiology, the lab, and the cardiopulmonary department. There was also a translator from the operating room who could communicate with the Hispanic patient.

"So it was very organized," Gilbert said.

Ocean Springs Hospital is an accredited level three trauma center. So the way it handled the I-10 emergency came as no surprise to the ERs nurse manager.

"This hospital has made a point of excellent training for the staff," said Gilbert. "And we have policies and procedures in place that allow our employees to respond in an appropriate manner."