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March 21, 2017

MMH Emergency Room Nurse Brian Belile, RN checks Kimberly Marasco’s vital signs during MMH’s recent mock disaster drill.

Massena Memorial Hospital is always equipped to handle emergencies when any situation arises. In today’s turbulent world, hospitals stage mock scenarios for staff to test their Emergency Preparedness abilities. The mock situation allows MMH officials to later analyze the hospital’s Emergency Preparedness’ strengths and weaknesses. 

MMH recently participated in a New York State Department of Health Outbreak (NYSDOH) Unchecked Response Exercise in which a highly contagious and deadly pandemic flu strain began affecting patients in St. Lawrence County. Just under a dozen mock patients presented in MMH’s Emergency Room with flu-like symptoms.
More than 200 hospital staff members from each hospital department, including those with specialized emergency preparedness training and external partners, such as funeral homes and chaplains, participated in the simulated 96-hour incident.  The exercise shined a spotlight on the hospital’s ability to care for several critically ill patients. Also included were special needs patients; children, the elderly and hearing impaired individuals. The staff did a great job assuring their unique needs were properly met. MMH successfully demonstrated the hospital’s competence to treat all simulated patients, properly handle a stressful Hospital Incident Command Situation, emergency preparedness for handling pandemic flu disasters and the skill of medical staff treating patients. 

Senior Director of Professional and Practice Management/Ancillary Services and Safety Mark Brouillette is extremely pleased with how staff, outside partners, county and state agencies worked seamlessly to contain the flu outbreak. 

“We want to commend our entire hospital staff for their response to this event,” Brouillette said. “We’ve proven to ourselves again and again we can handle real-life Emergency Preparedness incidents with high volumes of patients seeking treatment.” 

Brouillette and Chief Nurse Executive Ralene North, RN, BSN served as liaisons for the hospital and NYSDOH during the mock exercise. Later this month, Brouillette and North will participate in a NYSDOH peer review conference. Constructive feedback from the conference will later be shared with all MMH Department Heads, in which MMH can continue to improve its quality care to residents in the Seaway Valley.