Hit the showers
Posted at 11:45 AM on August 19, 2008
by Tim Nelson
United Hopsital, just a block and a half away from the Xcel Energy Center, is gearing up for the worst-case scenario during the RNC. Look soon for a number of big white decontamination tents to go up outside its emergency room.
"We're prepared to receive patients if there's a mass casualty, whether it's a radiologic or biohazard-type situation," said Dr. Marty Richards, an ER physician at United. "We'll have tents outside and also decontamination tents set up in our ambulance-receiving bay."
United is one of several area hospitals that have been gearing up for the convention. Folks there are bracing for about a 30 percent boost in ER visits during the four days.
But United spokeswoman Terri Dresen says the hospital staff has been talking to other hospitals across the country located in cities that have hosted national conventions. Doctors and administrators from those hospitals have told United that most patients will be seeking treatment for things like foodborne illnesses, heat exhaustion and sprained ankles.
"Anytime you have 50,000 people within a few blocks radius and several thousand of protesters, you do need to prepare for anything that could happen to these people," Dresen said.
-- Laura Yuen