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Hospital prepared for worst case scenario after word of plant explosion

Photo provided by Our Lady of the Lake

POSTED: Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 5:30pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 14, 2013 - 7:07am

Dozens of people who were seeking medical attention had area hospitals preparing for a mass casualty event. Our Lady of the Lake told me the hospital was in the middle of being evaluated to become a level two trauma center.

It was all hands on deck at Our Lady of the Lake because trauma patients quickly started to pour in Thursday morning.

"We set up incident command to take care of what may be a mass casualty," said Terrie Sterling, Our Lady of the Lake’s Chief Operating Officer.

Our Lady of the Lake is a level two trauma center, so they reacted to the Geismar plant explosion immediately to make sure they were fully prepared for an influx of patients.

"The first 2 patients who arrived were critical," noted Sterling.

The Louisiana Emergency Response Network coordinated with local hospitals for patient transportation.

"In this case most have been transported via air that they are rotating patients throughout the city," stated Sterling.

With a chemical plant explosion such as this, proper safety procedures were quickly put in place.

"People who come on site from the actual scene maybe require decontamination so those patients are decontaminated in a stand up preparation area to make sure they are clear of any chemical residue."

Sterling tells NBC33 that St. Elizabeth has also been seeing people with fair to moderate injuries; they too were decontaminated and screened.

And along with those professionals educated about those chemicals their staff, does everything they can to help those seeking medical attention.

Latest numbers NBC33 have recieved are as follows:

In total, 77 were seen at emergency rooms in the area. Of this figure, 51 already have been discharged after being evaluated. Right now, six have been admitted into hospitals and of that group, three are in the Intensive Care Unit. In total, of the 77, 15 workers were seen with burns.

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