CHI Health St. Elizabeth holds mass casualty training exercise in Lincoln

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Emergency room staff at CHI Health St. Elizabeth got first-hand experience on Thursday in dealing with a mass casualty event.

The hospital held a simulation for its staff in hopes of better preparing to care for several patients all at once.

Chief Medical Officer Jason Kruger said the scenario involved more than 20 patients, all involved in a chemical explosion.

Each patient wore makeup to mimic injuries suffered from the imaginary explosion.

The simulation began with staff taking patients to a decontamination tent.

“They basically said here’s the start, listen to people as you go as it would be real life,” said Jaden Peterson, an ER tech.  “Cause we really don’t have much direction, you just follow the voices basically throughout the whole day.”

Emergency staff wore full-body protective gear as they hosed down patients in the tent.

“They weren’t waterproof, so we were getting drenched with water ourselves and we can hardly see through those masks or anything,” Peterson said.  “Definitely more hectic. If it was a real thing, I think it would almost be almost panicking.”

After the decontamination process, staff wheeled patients into the hospital’s emergency room.

The patients are then triaged based on the level of care they need.

Media were not allowed into the ER, but patient Paul Jenkins explained what they went through once inside.

“They actually got into the rooms and started doing the actual procedures that they would do during real life,” he said.

Jenkins, who has a family member who works in the ER at St. Elizabeth, wanted to see her and other medical staff in action.

“It was very interesting to watch and see how well they perform,” he said.

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