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Deployable, portable, and temporary hospitals; one state's experiences through the years

Randy D. Kearns, DHA, MSA, Mary Beth Skarote, NREMT-P, LPN, Jeff Peterson, NREMT-P, BS, Lew Stringer, MD, FACA, Roy L. Alson, MD, PhD, FACEP, FAAEM, Bruce A. Cairns, MD, FACS, Michael W. Hubble, PhD, MBA, NREMT-P, Preston B. Rich, MD, MBA, FACS, Charles B. Cairns, MD, FACEP, FAHA, James H. Holmes IV, MD, FACS, Jeff Runge, MD, FACEP, Sean M. Siler, DO, MBA, FACEP, FAAEM, James Winslow, Md, MPH


This article will review the use of temporary hospitals to augment the healthcare system as one solution for dealing with a surge of patients related to war, pandemic disease outbreaks, or natural disaster. The experiences highlighted in this article are those of North Carolina (NC) over the past 150 years, with a special focus on the need following the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks. It will also discuss the development of a temporary hospital system from concept to deployment, highlight recent developments, emphasize the need to learn from past experiences, and offer potential solutions for assuring program sustainability. Historically, when a particular situation called for a temporary hospital, one was created, but it was usually specific for the event and then dismantled. As with the case with many historical events, the details of the 9/11 attacks will fade into memory, and there is a concern that the impetus which created the current temporary hospital program may fade, as well. By developing a broader and more comprehensive approach to disaster responses through all-hazards preparedness, it is reasonable to learn from these past experiences, improve the understanding of current threats, and develop a long-term strategy to sustain these resources for future disaster medical needs.


field hospital, temporary hospital, deployable hospital

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