The exercises assess communication and response aptitude for real-life emergency scenarios

A medical or security emergency can unfold in less than a moment’s notice, making it extremely critical for hospitals to stay alert, have a plan and be prepared for anything. Recent years, since the onset of COVID-19, have presented one challenge after the next — from PPE, staffing and nursing shortages to constantly changing CDC guidelines — and South Texas Health System has stood strong, managing all crises and proving to be the Valley’s safe, trusted and ready choice for medical care.

With the goal of remaining proactive to various potential extreme circumstances, on Monday, November 29, multiple facilities of the South Texas Health System participated in a two-part trauma and missing child no-notice emergency drill. The trauma drill serves as a standard requirement of The Joint Commission, as well a test of the system’s emergency response plans.

South Texas College Emergency Medical Program students participated as mock trauma patients for the scenarios, which included calling STHS Edinburg Labor and Delivery to ask about the hospital’s security, thus alerting suspicion, and being rushed into the STHS McAllen emergency room with signs around their neck detailing their states of injury. One student actor required transportation to STHS Heart for cardiac treatment, further testing the coordination among STHS’ facilities.

Various department directors were on standby to assess how nurses, doctors and hospital staff handled the exercises. Upon conclusion, evaluators met to debrief, discussing strengths and areas in need of improvement.

“Exercises like this are imperative when gauging our readiness as a hospital system and to identify areas we can improve on, that way, people who come to STHS not only know they’re coming to a safe environment, but that the staff here is very knowledgeable,” STHS Emergency Management Coordinator James Archer said. “If we see something we need to address, we can correct it for the next exercise and further improve.”

In the coming months, STHS will hold additional exercise drills to help ensure preparedness for natural disasters, an active shooter, critical injuries and other potential emergency situations.

About South Texas Health System

South Texas Health System is amulti-hospital health care system servingpatients throughouttheRio Grande Valley. The system includes fourhospital campuseswith specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services,maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Treatmentfor behavioralhealth needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system’sSouth Texas Health System Behavioral Health campus location.South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level II Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, a specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information on the system, please visit www.southtexashealthsystem.com.