New York Medical College’s Center for Disaster Medicine Brings Mass Casualty Triage Training to Western New York at Kaleida Health
Training Prepares Clinicians for Influx in Patients, Teaches Effective Triage Methods Required When Disaster Strikes
Jennifer Riekert, M.B.A.
Vice President of Communications and Strategic Initiatives
New York Medical College
Valhalla, N.Y. – On November 26, emergency department clinicians and other medical professionals from Kaleida Health and other healthcare facilities in the Western New York region participated in an eight-hour Principles and Application of Mass Casualty course hosted by Kaleida Health and Finger Lakes Regional Resource and Training Center. Taught by faculty of New York Medical College’s (NYMC’s) Center for Disaster Medicine (CDM), the course was designed to refresh the knowledge of medical professionals responsible for the initial triage of victims following a mass casualty incident.
New literature in emergency and disaster medicine following recent mass shootings, bombings, and other disasters suggests that emergency departments may be underprepared for the influx of “self-referred” patients following a mass casualty event. A “self-referred” patient is a victim who self-evaluates and bypasses the on-scene triage, treatment, and prioritized transport procedures initiated by EMS agencies. Acute care hospitals need to be equipped to address an influx of “walk-in” patients whose sheer numbers might overwhelm the hospital’s capacity and capabilities, and slow or impair the response to more critically injured patients. The training course focused on prioritizing patient care based on the capacity for surgical intervention, critical care admission or stabilization in the emergency department.
Medical professionals and administrators from departments across Kaleida Health and other regional healthcare facilities participated in the training event, including: emergency medicine, emergency management, risk management, communications, security, facilities, patient relations and support services.
“Preparing medical professionals with the education they need in order to manage an unexpected influx of patients and properly prioritize treatment is a skill that will help save lives,” said David S. Markenson, M.D., M.B.A., director and medical director of the Center for Disaster Medicine. “Even the most seasoned emergency room professional can benefit from learning or brushing up on the most effective triage methods. These sessions are proactive ways medical professionals can prepare for disaster situations.”
"As the largest hospital system in Western New York, it's important to continuously conduct disaster-related training exercises for all Kaleida Health staff — from our clinicians to our security personnel, and facilities and ancillary staff," said David McKnight, manager of emergency management at Kaleida Health. “The goal is to ensure that our hospitals are equipped to handle any emergency we are faced with, and that our facilities remain fully operational in the event of a significant mass casualty event. We thank Dr. Markenson and the New York Medical College's Center for Disaster Medicine for their support and providing Kaleida Health with this very important training."
This training was made possible by funding awarded to the Center through the Empire State Development, NYSTAR Centers of Excellence Program. The Center for Disaster Medicine was designated a Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters in 2017 by the State of New York and receives annual support to conduct workforce-related training and direct services throughout the State. In addition to working with law enforcement, the Center has recently partnered with the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) to educate emergency department physicians on the management of patients following mass casualty events. The Center continuously works with its partners and stakeholders to provide timely and innovative education programs that utilize evidence-based approaches to increase the capacity of healthcare and emergency responders to meet the needs of the public following disasters, acts of terrorism, and public health emergencies.
New York Medical College
Founded in 1860, NYMC is one of the oldest and largest health sciences colleges in the country with more than 1,400 students, 1,300 residents and clinical fellows, nearly 3,000 faculty members, and 19,000 living alumni. The College, which joined the Touro College and University System in 2011, is located in Westchester County, New York, and offers degrees from the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences, the School of Health Sciences and Practice, a School of Dental Medicine and a School of Nursing. NYMC provides a wide variety of clinical training opportunities for students, residents, and practitioners.
Kaleida Health is the largest healthcare provider in Western New York, serving the area's eight counties with state-of-the-art technology and comprehensive healthcare services. Its expert, compassionate healthcare professionals are committed to providing the best possible outcomes and experience for patients and visitors.
More than one million sick or injured patients choose a Kaleida Health facility annually, including Bradford Regional Medical Center, Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, DeGraff Memorial Hospital, John R. Oishei Children's Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, and Olean General Hospital.
Accredited by DNV GL Healthcare, Kaleida Health also provides important services through two long-term care facilities, nearly 80 outpatient clinics, including school-based health centers, and home health care through the Visiting Nursing Association of WNY, Inc. In addition, Kaleida Health’s hospitals support residency training programs of the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, training more than 700 residents each year.