Gary Atherton – PMH Mobile Surge Hospital

Gary Atherton, Director of Emergency Services at Porter Memorial Hospital, visited the Club and talked about the new mobile Surge Hospital.   Gary is a former Evanston firefighter.

The mobile Surge Hospital is a self-contained unit, designed to handle an extra “surge” of patients in the event of emergency. It is complete with its own heating and cooling system, electric generators, lighting, and beds. Porter’s Surge Hospital measures 21 feet by 42 feet and can be transported on a 26-foot trailer. It sets up quickly on any flat ground and comes equipped with 20 fold-up hospital beds.

“The Surge Hospital sets up in under 10 minutes and gives us many ways to serve the community,” said Gary Atherton, Porter’s Emergency Medical Services Director. “We can provide pandemic triage away from the hospital which is best for avoiding the spread of disease. We can relieve crowding in the hospital or ER. We could also use it as a warming area or a cooling shelter in cases of disaster. It just increases our capacity to help,” he said.

Surge hospitals such as Porter’s have been used around the world in disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Porter’s Surge unit has the added capability of attaching to the hospital’s existing decontamination shelter, making it a valuable addition to Porter’s hazardous material response.

The mobile Surge Hospital is part of Porter’s Emergency Operations Plan which is the result of many hours of planning by Porter’s Emergency Preparedness Committee, Infection Control Committee, and members of Senior Leadership. Funding for the $130,000 mobile Surge Hospital was provided by the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) through Health and Human Services (HHS).

(Portions of this article taken from Porter Memorial Hospital Press Release)

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