Drawing from Emergency Medical Services response teams from across North Carolina, including western counties, the State Medical Response System (SMRS), in conjunction with the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) is meeting the medical needs of people in the flooded areas of eastern North Carolina.
The Office of Emergency Medical Services and the State Medical Response System set up a five-bed mobile emergency department to serve residents living on the south side of Kinston, as rising waters of the Neuse River continue to reduce access to Lenoir Memorial Hospital on the north side of the river.
EMS Teams also established two Medical Support Shelters – one at the O’Berry Neuro Medical Center in Goldsboro and the other at Benson Grove Baptist Church in Benson – to meet needs of patients in those flooded areas who are too sick for general shelters, but not in need of the acute care services of a hospital. Some were evacuated from homes or care facilities, and others were discharged from hospitals but unable to return to their homes.
“This is just a small part of the response we are capable of delivering to serve the medical needs of people in communities struck by floods or other disasters,” said Tom Mitchell, Chief of OEMS. “The teams that are serving at these temporary facilities are part of a network of professionals we rely on at times like this.”
EMS crews hauled the mobile Emergency Department unit Monday from the State Medical Response System Operations Center in Mocksville and had it set up by nightfall Monday. The unit has seen multiple patients since becoming operational on Tuesday, several in critical condition and requiring air medical transport to another facility. The Emergency Department is staffed with two physicians, a physician’s assistant, five registered nurses and two paramedics. The unit includes an Ambulance Strike Team made up of four ambulances, a quick response vehicle and a medical ambulance bus. The site also includes a helicopter landing zone.
The emergency department unit is in the parking lot of Southwood Memorial Church at 1027 Highway 58 South. It is one element of a larger Mobile Disaster Hospital maintained by OEMS, part of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. FEMA had an agreement with North Carolina to maintain the hospital in 2008, and by 2015 North Carolina took ownership of the asset. The mobile hospital deployed in May 2014 to Louisville, Miss., after a tornado heavily damaged Winston Medical Center and other nearby medical services in the community.