National Mobile Disaster Hospital Opens in Louisville, Filling Critical Medical Needs

Contributor: Rachael Thomas
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Updated: 5/19/2014 4:22 pm
The National Mobile Disaster Hospital opened Monday in Louisville, Miss., to temporarily replace the Winston Medical Center, which was heavily damaged during the April 28th tornado outbreak.

The mobile hospital will serve as an interim medical facility until the Winston Medical Center can be rebuilt. This is the first time the National Mobile Disaster Hospital has been used as a fully operational hospital.

Through the coordinated efforts of Gov. Phil Bryant’s office, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the Mississippi Department of Health, the State of North Carolina, Winston County, the City of Louisville, Baptist Men and Women, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the hospital was transported, inventoried, built and opened within three weeks of the April 28th tornadoes.

“Quickly replacing lost medical facilities was an immediate priority for my administration and response teams following April’s destructive tornadoes,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “We all came together as a team with a central focus of providing a critical resource to the survivors in Louisville and the surrounding area, and I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. Having this facility will help the community immensely as we begin permanent repair and recovery efforts.”

A medical coordination team, along with emergency management staff from North Carolina, M.E.M.A. and F.E.M.A., oversaw the preparation, transportation and assembly of the medical units, with the assistance of the North Carolina Baptist Men and Women.

"Recovering from disasters takes a team effort," said F.E.M.A. Administrator Craig Fugate. "Today's event is an important step in reviving local services in Louisville. Together, we continue the hard work of supporting the community to get back on its feet."

Local physicians, nurses and support personnel have taken over daily management and operation of the hospital. Winston Medical Center is one of the largest employers in Winston County. Without the National Mobile Disaster Hospital, the medical center’s employees would be forced to relocate out of the area to find work, which would leave a large medical gap for survivors.

The North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services and the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services traveled to Mississippi to train Winston Medical Center staff on how to operate the equipment they will use in the mobile hospital.

The temporary hospital includes a 5-bed emergency department and 10-bed acute care module, along with typical services found in a hospital environment including an X-ray unit, inpatient pharmacy, a clinical lab and medical supply and logistical support units.

The State of Mississippi’s State Medical Assistance Team provided emergency medical care to the citizens of Winston County while the National Mobile Disaster Hospital was transported and assembled.

The F.E.M.A.-owned National Mobile Disaster Hospital is based at the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services in Mocksville, N.C., which maintains and manages the facility. The hospital was transported to Louisville on a total of 27 tractor trailers within a week of the April 28th tornadoes.

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