The BCU participated in an international preparedness drill organized by the State Department and the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in early April. Eleven mock patients were flown from West Africa in a new biocontainment transport system. On arrival to Dulles, the patients were transported to one of five Regional Ebola and Special Pathogen Treatment Centers (RESPTCs). As the Region 3 designated RESTPC, Hopkins was assigned 2 patients. The Lifeline Special Operations Response Team (SORT) geared up in full personal protective equipment (PPE) and successfully transported the patients to the BCU. Once the patients arrived on the unit, the BCU team practiced several care protocols including patient assessment, blood draw, laboratory testing and waste management.
The drill was one of the largest international transport exercises for highly infectious disease patients, and we were incredibly proud to showcase the preparedness talents of the entire Hopkins team. We would like to thank the nearly 100 Hopkins staff who participated in the drill including individuals from Lifeline, nursing, Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control (HEIC), security, the core and microbiology labs and Health Safety and the Environment (HSE), among countless other departments. Roy Brower from the MICU was our in-room provider for the exercise. A special thank you goes out to our drill committee chair Dianne Whyne, whose decades of experience in disaster preparedness have made a profound impact on the BCU team.
The BCU would like to extend a warm welcome to the new Director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Bob Maloney. Bob joins us from the City of Baltimore where he most recently served as the director of the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management. We are eager to work with Bob to continue to leverage the experience of the BCU to improve preparedness at Hopkins and beyond.
We are also excited to announce that the BCU will be formally partnering with the National Ebola Treatment and Education Center (NETEC) to provide on-site trainings for national partners, create online education content, perform hospital preparedness site visits and conduct research to advance the science of containment care. We are preparing for our second annual site visit from NETEC in May and look forward to launching our new relationship during that event.
-Brian Garibaldi, Associate Director of the BCU