Hospital Emergency Surge Capacity: Not Ready for the 'Predictable Surprise'   [open pdf - 860KB]

"At the request of Chairman Henry A. Waxman, the majority staff of the Committee conducted a survey of Level I trauma centers in seven major U.S. cities to assess whether they have the capacity to respond to the level of casualties experienced in the Madrid attack. The survey included five of the cities considered at highest risk of a terrorist strike: New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Houston. It also included Denver and Minneapolis […]. The Level I trauma centers surveyed are not the only providers of emergency care in the seven cities, but they are the hospitals that can provide the highest levels of injury care and would be the preferred destinations for casualties in the event of a terrorist attack involving conventional explosives. […]. The survey was designed to determine the real-time capacity of the emergency rooms at the Level I trauma centers to absorb a sudden influx from a mass casualty event. Thirty-four of the 41 Level I trauma centers in these cities participated in the survey. The results of the survey show that none of the hospitals surveyed in the seven cities had sufficient emergency care capacity to respond to an attack generating the number of casualties that occurred in Madrid."

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House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: http://oversight.house.gov/
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Listed on May 21, 2008 [Critical Releases]