Skip Navigation LinksHome > July 2014 - Volume 124 - Issue 1 > Steps Toward a National Disaster Plan for Obstetrics
Obstetrics & Gynecology:
doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000326
Contents: Current Commentary

Steps Toward a National Disaster Plan for Obstetrics

Daniels, Kay MD; Oakeson, Ann Marie MSN, RDMS; Hilton, Gillian MBChB, FRCA

Collapse Box

Abstract

Hospitals play a central role in disasters by receiving an influx of casualties and coordinating medical efforts to manage resources. However, plans have not been fully developed in the event the hospital itself is severely damaged, either from natural disasters like earthquakes or tornados or manmade events such as a massive electrical failure or terrorist attacks. Of particular concern is the limited awareness of the obstetric units' specialized needs in the world of disaster planning. Within the same footprint of any obstetric unit, there exists a large variety of patient acuity and needs including laboring women, postoperative patients, and healthy postpartum patients with their newborns. An obstetric-specific triage method is paramount to accurately assess and rapidly triage patients during a disaster. An example is presented here called OB TRAIN (Obstetric Triage by Resource Allocation for Inpatient). To accomplish a comprehensive obstetric disaster plan, there must be 1) national adoption of a common triage and evacuation language including an effective patient tracking system to avoid maternal–neonatal separation; 2) a stratification of maternity hospital levels of care; and 3) a collaborative network of obstetric hospitals, both regionally and nationally. However, obstetric disaster planning goes beyond evacuation and must include plans for shelter-in-place and surge capacity, all uniquely designed for the obstetric patient. Disasters, manmade or natural, are neither predictable nor preventable, but we can and should prepare for them.

© 2014 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Login

Article Tools

Share