140 year of Shriners

140 year of Shriners

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Update on the Tragedy in Mexico

I wanted to give each of you an update on the terrible fire in Mexico. First of all, this fire was in the northwestern part of Mexico, the area that the Northern California Hospital would cover. They were immediately notified of this fire and the possibility of a large number of children that may be involved. The staff at the Northern California Hospital, under the direction of Dr. Tina Palmeri, the Assistant Chief of Staff and the Administrator Maggie Bryan, immediately notified Dr. Peter Armstrong and myself, letting us know what had happened and that they would triage this tragedy. They immediately notified the other hospitals, Cincinnati and Boston to see what was available for beds. Boston was full and Cincinnati did have available beds. NCH had beds available. The children, several of whom at this time had expired mostly to smoke inhalation.

What everyone needs to understand up front, before any transport of a critically burnt child, the child must be stabilized before they can be transported. Then a determination must be made as to the chances of survival of the child. Please understand, these are the times that we gave the doctors the OK to transport regardless of cost to help speed up the care. We also have to consider the acuteness and if the patient could in fact survive the transportation. Presently, The Military has transported to Sacramento. We are still waiting the local Doctors to release other children.

Our LA hospital has also been asked to assist in helping those with not so severe burns and they are in fact helping. Looks like all we could take care of have been helped. My thanks for extra time that the staff has put in to help this disaster in Mexico.

Ralph W. Semb, President and Chief Executive Officer, Shriners Hospitals for Children
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