Johnson City Medical Center | News Article

Friday, September 21, 2012

Code Delta demonstrates great coordination of effort at JCMC, FWCH, Niswonger
Team members from all over JCMC responded quickly to the Code Delta.

Code Delta demonstrates great coordination of effort at JCMC, FWCH, Niswonger

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – All hands were on deck at Johnson City Medical Center Thursday afternoon when trauma patients began coming in by air and ground following a school bus crash near Telford, Tenn.

Code Delta disaster protocol was activated for JCMC at 3:40 p.m., and immediately more than 50 team members reported to the emergency department, ready to help. The responders came from all areas of the hospital, and included physicians and RNs as well as nurse managers, educators, child life specialists, chaplains, and representatives from EVS, registration, OR, PACU, laboratory, communications, infection prevention, dietary, radiology, pharmacy and patient transport. East Tennessee State University residents trained in trauma care at JCMC also responded rapidly.

According to Dr. Tyler Putnam, medical director of trauma services for JCMC, the response was well organized, and the coordination of effort was remarkably smooth. That’s high praise, coming from a physician whose disaster training comes from military experience and the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

“I have done many exercises in the field with large disaster scenarios,” said Putnam. “What we saw here at JCMC was not unlike those situations, and I think the hospital staff, our local emergency services personnel and the regional medical communications center are to be commended for their effort. Our patients benefited from the teamwork that was displayed.”

As soon as the Code Delta was initiated, a team from the ICU came down to help transfer four patients upstairs to make room in the ED, and ICU shift leaders stayed to care for remaining ED patients so that the ED team could focus on the incoming trauma cases.

The wreck occurred just after 3 p.m. as the bus was taking students home from David Crockett High School. According to local news reports, the bus began to stray off the side of the road when the driver overcorrected, causing the bus to run off the opposite side of the road and roll at least three times before coming to rest on its side. According to Ron Dykes, Washington County director of schools, there were 47 students on the bus when it crashed.

Three Wings Air Rescue helicopters were dispatched to transport patients, along with Wellmont One. Six patients from the scene were transported by air – five to JCMC and one by Wings to Holston Valley Medical Center. Thirteen patients arrived by ground ambulance at JCMC.

In all, 21 patients from the crash were treated at JCMC. Nine were treated at Franklin Woods Community Hospital, where staff initiated another Code Delta to handle the influx of patients. Eight of those were treated and released, and the ninth was transferred to JCMC to be admitted.

Two patients at JCMC required surgery, and 12 were admitted overnight at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, all in stable condition. By the end of the day Friday, Putnam said he expected only a handful to remain as inpatients.