A new tool in emergency care being unveiled this week could be a trend of the future. It will certainly help healthcare officials respond to people affected by tragedy or terror. It's a mobile hospital sort of like a modern day Mash unit. The Med-1, as it's called, is a level one trauma center in a tractor trailer.
"We're the first program in the world that we know of that has actually produced a full scale hospital treatment facility on wheels," says Dr. Tom Blackwell, Med-1 Medical Director.
The 1,000 square foot unit has 14 patient beds, an operating room, intensive care unit, a pharmacy, x-ray and lab facilities, all on wheels. A companion truck carries gear for an expansion system that can accommodate an extra 88 patients if necessary. Built as a prototype for the Department of Homeland Security, the Med-1 is designed for quick response to even the most dangerous situations. On-board satellite communications allow for real-time consultation with experts at the unit's home base in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The mobile hospital is also equipped with a special filtration system that allows it to operate in biologically hazardous exposure areas. The Med-1 team can begin treating patients as soon as 20 minutes after arriving on site. Although Med-1 was paid for by a grant from Homeland Security, the unit is privately owned by Carolinas Healthcare System. Dr. Blackwell and members of the Med-1 team are unveiling the Carolinas Med-1 beginning Thursday, Jan. 13 at a meeting of emergency physicians in Naples, Florida.
For more information on the Carolinas Med-1 Mobile Hospital, contact Ray Jones at Carolinas Medical Center at 704-355-3141 or click here .