CA: Portable hospital in Memphis will respond to disasters around the world
A 50-ton portable emergency response field hospital, packed in containers and strapped to three flatbed trucks and two trailers, arrived at a FedEx warehouse in Memphis on Thursday.
The components of the hospital can be pieced together with fabric covering, air conditioning and heating units.
Within 72 hours of a global disaster, the mobile hospital can be moved anywhere in the world, said David Lusk, senior manager of Global Operations Control at FedEx Express.
“When the hospital needs to be sent some place, we can put the containers on a truck, put it on an airplane and go,” Lusk said. “When the hospital is completely put together, it’s an admittance, triage, surgery, recovery and pharmacy. It’s like putting a Methodist hospital out in the field.”
The mobile hospital contains 12 shelters and stretches the size of a football field when fully deployed. Three hundred surgeries or 6,000 outpatient consultations can be performed in a month at the field hospital.
In the past, the field hospital could only be deployed as a whole unit. With the partnership between FedEx Express and the International Medical Corps, individual sections now can be sent around the world to help in disasters.
Lusk said International Medical Corps asked FedEx to help scale down the size of the hospital.
“If they didn’t need to send the whole hospital to a location, like they only need to ship three of these containers to some place in the world to respond to an event, we can get those three containers and move them,” Lusk said.
Erica Tavares, senior director of Institutional Advancement at International Medical Corps, said the field hospital has never been fully deployed because “there hasn’t been a disaster that’s warranted the size and scope of this hospital.”
Tavares said the hospital was created after the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
“It was designed in the aftermath of that emergency because we recognized that there needed to be a way for us to be able to provide trauma and surgical care in the aftermath of the world’s largest disasters,” Tavares said.
Tavares said the hospital is “fairly self-sufficient in the first four weeks of a disaster.”
The operation of the mobile hospital is completely donor funded, so patients do not pay for the services they receive. Most patients will be international, since the International Medical Corps’ “expertise” is more focused on global disasters, Tavares said.