RCH aids bus crash victims

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 30, 2007

AHOSKIE – Even on an average day, the Emergency Room at Roanoke-Chowan Hospital is busy.

Thursday, March 29 was anything but an average day.

An accident involving a Hertford County Public Schools bus with a driver and 37 young passengers onboard had all the ingredients to overwhelm a small, rural hospital. Fortunately for the victims of that early morning accident, R-CH was more than prepared to handle the situation.

“Our team went immediately into action,” Lisa Newsome, R-CH spokesperson said.

“A Code Disaster was called and numerous departments within the hospital responded, from the maintenance staff setting up chairs, to the Pharmacy director coordinating patient/family arrival, to Mark Boyd and his team responding to emotional crisis issues.

It was a tremendous team effort.”

Newsome said Susan Brinkley, R-CH’s Risk Management Director, orchestrated the response.

Three emergency physicians, radiologist and radiology team, an entire team of ‘disaster response’ nurses from other floors throughout the hospital and support staff, including patient advocates, customer service, Housekeeping, Infection Control, Admissions and Supply swung into action.

“You name the department and they were represented in some way during this outstanding response to a disaster situation,” Newsome noted. “Parents were comforted with counseling and coffee/water.

Children were comforted with personal visits and stuffed animals.

School principals, nurses and counselors were on hand to calm all involved. School personnel and parents were kept informed of status of patients at all times.

It was a clockwork team effort by our staff.”

As the young victims began to arrive by ambulance, nurses were waiting in a triage area and prepped the children in order of the extent of their injuries. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries despite the fact that the bus flipped on its side after impact. Newsome said most were treated for cuts, scrapes, bumps and bruises.

Compliments were later received from the Hertford County school system as well as one parent who said, “I have nothing but good things to say about how our hospital handled this accident.

When I arrived at the ED I was greeted at the door and immediately the person greeting me began taking information.

Luckily my girls only suffered minor cuts and bruises. I was very impressed with the entire staff, from the nurses and doctors, even with the folks bringing in extra chairs. Everyone was so courteous and helpful. I was very pleased with how the entire process went.”