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Mil Med. 2014 Aug;179(8):913-9. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-13-00525.

Efficient post-disaster patient transportation and transfer: experiences and lessons learned in emergency medical rescue in Aceh after the 2004 Asian tsunami.

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  • 1General Hospital of Chinese People's Armed Police Forces, Beijing 100039, China.


This descriptive study aimed to present experiences and lessons learned in emergency medical rescue after the 2004 Asian tsunami in terms of transportation and transfer of patients and coordination of medical rescue forces. After the tsunami, numerous rescue institutions and international organizations rushed to Aceh province to aid in the rescue work. To coordinate various aspects of medical rescue efforts, an airport-based joint patient transfer center was developed. Within the framework of the joint transport center, rescue teams, militaries, and international institutions worked together to jointly triage, rapidly treat, and transfer patients. As members of the Chinese International Search and Rescue team, we were involved in the rescue efforts in the joint patient transfer center, and treated and transferred a total of 217 injured patients, the majority of whom were triaged as level II, followed by level III, and level I. The top three diseases were trauma/wound infection, respiratory system disease, and digestive system disease. The airport-based joint patient transfer center provided an efficient mechanism for successfully coordinating various aspects of the medical rescue efforts to transfer patients. Large-scale air transport, available health resources, and effective triage criteria also played an essential role in patient transportation and transfer.

Reprint & Copyright © 2014 Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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