Amazing response to a tragedy

December 20, 2017

Our state experienced a terrible tragedy this week when an Amtrak train derailed in DuPont, landing on passing motorists on I-5 below. In addition to the three who lost their lives, more than 70 were injured and needed medical attention. It was a horrifying sight.

Ten hospitals in three counties quickly activated emergency response plans in order to absorb dozens of patients and coordinate care and response.

Hospitals must be ready to handle this type of crisis at all times. The community relies on it. Everyone who was transported to a hospital got the care they needed, regardless of their income, employment, insurance, immigration status or any other pre-existing health care needs. This type of crisis illustrates how hospitals come together to deliver a massive amount of services with no notice, and it is a vivid reminder of the valuable role hospitals play in every community in our state. Though they compete with one another daily, that competition is immediately put aside when it comes to patient care.

With many hospitals already operating at or near capacity, especially during flu season, response of this scale relies on a tremendous amount of planning, training and coordination. We are so grateful for the front line staff who provide so much good care, as well as the many other staff and administrators who make sure that nurses and doctors have everything they need. We’re also grateful for the disaster planners at the Department of Health, the Northwest Healthcare Response Network and the other coalitions who work to prepare for days like this.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the derailment. We at WSHA are so grateful to all the hospitals and caregivers who had such an amazing response. You made all the hospitals in the state proud.

Cassie Sauer
WSHA President & CEO


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