Study Credits Responders at Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

The EMS response after sections of an I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007, was a success in terms of rescue, recovery, and triage, says a study published in a special issue of the American Medical Association's Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal. AMA announced the publication on Wednesday.

"The collapse of the 35W bridge presented unique hazards and logistical challenges to the Minneapolis EMS system," said Dr. John L. Hick, associate professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School and faculty physician at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. "The scope of the disaster, the need for multiple transportation and staging areas, and the involvement of multiple aid agencies complicated EMS management, but we were able to use familiar response strategies to help victims quickly."

The collapse killed 13 people, and responders assisted 127 others who were injured. The study of care provided by EMS units and fire departments examines their communications and response plan. "Paramedics based triage on injuries as they would do on a routine basis. All patients arrived at the proper destination and received appropriate triage at the disaster site," AMA noted.

"We are fortunate this tragedy never became a true disaster in that it did not strip community resources to provide appropriate pre-hospital medical care to victims," Hick said. "Reviewing the emergency response to the bridge's collapse will help us, and any city around the country, make improvements to rescue and recovery strategies that will help ensure successful disaster responses in the future."

 

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