Deployable, portable, and temporary hospitals; one state's experiences through the years.

TitleDeployable, portable, and temporary hospitals; one state's experiences through the years.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsKearns RD, Skarote MBeth, Peterson J, Stringer L, Alson RL, Cairns BA, Hubble MW, Rich PB, Cairns CB, Holmes JH, Runge J, Siler SM, Winslow J
JournalAm J Disaster Med
Date Published2014 Summer
ISSN Number1932-149X
KeywordsCivil Defense, Emergency Medical Services, History, 19th Century, History, 20th Century, History, 21st Century, Hospitals, Military, Humans, Mass Casualty Incidents, Mobile Health Units, North Carolina

This article will review the use of temporary hospitals to augment the healthcare system as one solution for dealing with a surge of patients related to war, pandemic disease outbreaks, or natural disaster. The experiences highlighted in this article are those of North Carolina (NC) over the past 150 years, with a special focus on the need following the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks. It will also discuss the development of a temporary hospital system from concept to deployment, highlight recent developments, emphasize the need to learn from past experiences, and offer potential solutions for assuring program sustainability. Historically, when a particular situation called for a temporary hospital, one was created, but it was usually specific for the event and then dismantled. As with the case with many historical events, the details of the 9/11 attacks will fade into memory, and there is a concern that the impetus which created the current temporary hospital program may fade, as well. By developing a broader and more comprehensive approach to disaster responses through all-hazards preparedness, it is reasonable to learn from these past experiences, improve the understanding of current threats, and develop a long-term strategy to sustain these resources for future disaster medical needs.

Alternate JournalAm J Disaster Med
PubMed ID25348385
Faculty Reference: 
Charles B. Cairns, MD, FACEP, FAHA