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California's Surge Standards and Guidelines

by: DemFromCT

Thu Apr 10, 2008 at 15:36:02 PM EDT

As part of our pandemic exercise of setting up a community drive thru triage clinic, we were testing and supplementing surge capacity.

see The Pandemic Flu Drive-Thru Clinic Exercise and Pandemic Flu Exercise part II

As it happens, California is a national leader in developing surge capacity guidelines.

DemFromCT :: California's Surge Standards and Guidelines

The California Department of Public Health recently released the first comprehensive surge guidelines for health care during a catastrophic emergency.

The new "surge capacity guidelines"  - which authorities hope will serve as guidlines for hospitals nationwide, especially in the event of a pandemic - calls for letting older, sicker patients be allowed to die in order to save the lives of patients more likely to survive a catastrophic public health crisis.

"During a major disaster, the heath care system will look very different from what we are accustomed to," said Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health. "These guidelines will help communities as they plan how to sustain a functioning health care system following a catastrophic event such as a severe earthquake, bioterrorism attack or outbreak of pandemic influenza."

In 2006, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations also issued the report, "Surge Hospitals: Providing Safe Care in Emergencies."

More can be found in the documents here:


There are some extraordinary things to learn, some quite sobering. For those interested in the topic, spend some time exploring the site and documents. Consider this an adjunct to the Bethel panflu surge exercise.

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