New mobile hospital to take off at air show - June 20, 2014

Northwest Indiana has expanded its emergency response capabilities by bringing on a fully equipped trailer dubbed a mobile hospital.

The District 1 Hospital Emergency Planning Committee received the trailer last week. It made its first appearance Friday outside a meeting of the Indiana Emergency Medical Services Commission, a 13-member entity appointed by the governor, at Methodist Hospitals Northlake campus.

“Last week, we took delivery on a mobile surge trailer, which allows us to set up a mobile hospital anywhere,” said Emery Garwick, District 1 hospital emergency preparedness chairman and emergency medical services and emergency preparedness coordinator for Methodist Hospitals.

The trailer belongs to the District 1 Hospital Emergency Planning Committee but can travel to assist outside communities. District 1 includes Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton and Jasper counties.

The mobile hospital, bought with a grant from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, is stocked with oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, IV poles, monitoring supplies, beds and a large tent for shelter.

It will roll out in July at the South Shore Air Show at Fair Oaks Farms.

“It’s basically a mobile hospital,” Garwick said.

It can function in any emergency situation where the needs of the patients outweigh the capabilities of local hospital, he said.

Commission members, who are touring the state, got a firsthand look at the trailer.

“We meet every other month and talk about the agenda items and anything else that comes up,” said Chuck Valentine, co-chairman of the commission.

Members have a host of emergency response backgrounds, such as firefighting, emergency management services and nursing, he said.

Friday’s discussions included updates on hospitals seeking trauma status. Methodist Hospitals is in the process of applying for status as a Level III trauma center.