Officials at Los Angeles’ Central Receiving Hospital stated today that a tour bus overturned in the city, flooding them with casualties and disrupted a planned disaster drill.
“We had been planning this drill for months” stated Dr. Mike Morton, Emergency Physician at Central Receiving. “Extra staff had been called in. Disaster supplies had been brought out of storage. All hospital departments had extra staffing, many on overtime” he stated. “Months of planning, all down the drain”.
The tour bus lost control on the freeway, rolling down an embankment. Fire and EMS personnel estimate at least 50 patients were transported to local hospitals, including many to Central Receiving’s Emergency Department, which was the closest to the accident site.
Fire officials state they had a difficult time convincing hospital staff the event was real. “We told them immediately that it wasn’t a drill”, stated one official. “They thought that was part of the drill, in order to make it more realistic”.
A senior EMS supervisor stated “We were bringing them critical patients, and all they did was compliment us on the realism of the moulage we used in making volunteers look injured”.
Hospital officials tell a different story, however. “This drill was important to us to practice and evaluate how we would perform in an emergency. Fire and EMS knew we were having a drill. The last thing in the world we were prepared for was to treat multiple casualties” stated Dr. Morton. He went on to state “I came in on my day off for this. My weekend is now ruined.”
Hospital officials have lodged a formal complaint with City Fire Commissioners. “We will not tolerate the Fire Department’s interfering with our plans” they state. “They could have waited to have their bus accident until after our drill. They knew all along when we had scheduled it for. It’s this ‘cowboy attitude’ they have that causes us to have no respect for them”, stated a senior hospital administrator.
Central Receiving Hospital states it will reschedule its drill for a later date. “We need to know how to react to a disaster. This means planning, preparation and drills”. They went on to state that “Next time, we are leaving Fire and EMS out of our drill. Preparation for disasters is too important to let outsiders interfere”