TAMPA - Less than two weeks away from the Republican National Convention ( RNC), and local hospitals are finishing up preparations.
Due to road closures, it may take longer to get to some of our bigger hospitals like TGH and even All Children's Hospital.
Tampa General Hospital will be the closest hospital to the Republican National Convention and the protesters that usually come with this type of political event. Earlier this year, staff held a drill to practice what would happen if a mob faced off against convention-goers or police.
John Dunn is TGH’s spokesperson. “There's a disturbance downtown involved in 300 people throwing all kinds of stuff at each other. The police came in with agents to disburse crowds."
The drill enlisted local students to play patients with the worst kinds of injuries. “I have burns to my chest and an evisceration in my abdomen."
Victims would arrive by buses and the first step would be decontamination. Each person showered in cold water before seeing a nurse or doctor.
Across town at St. Joseph's Hospital, they've also been running drills. As the second trauma hospital in Tampa they too would get patients in the event of a mass casualty.
Pat Donnelly, the Chief Nurse Executive ran the drill from the command center to the decontamination center out by the ER.
Doctor Charles Sand, who works in the Emergency Room, explains.
"Practice is critical. The drills really iron out the little kinks that need to be worked out. We drill what we'll probably see at the RNC, the common things -- heat illness, tear gas exposure, feces, urine things like that, biologic contamination.”
Both TGH and St. Joseph’s Hospital have experience with big crowds - think Gasparilla and the Super Bowl but this could be different.
In 2008, at the RNC convention in Minneapolis, more than a thousand people were treated for exposure to pepper spray and other injuries in the course of protests.
You may be affected the most by either traffic, or lack of access to these hospitals.
On Tampa General Hospital’s website they have posted alternate routes to help patients get to its campus on Davis Islands.
Bayfront Medical Center and All Children's Hospital will be affected Sunday, August 26, when I-175 is shut down for twelve hours.
If you have an emergency during the RNC week, your best bet is to call 911 and wait for paramedics. They will be allowed through road closures and will have access to all hospitals.
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