Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center announces its latest Emergency Medicine mobile deployment and its first Emergency Medicine mobile residency rotation at the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The only hospital on the island, it was heavily damaged by storms last fall.
“We are proud to play a pivotal role in providing emergency care beyond the walls of our medical centers, where and when it is needed most,” said Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “The Emergency Medicine resident rotation takes this important initiative to a new level.”
The mobile assets provide a formal operating suite and a pre/post-operative unit, which also serves as an Emergency Department or Intensive Care Unit. They were developed by Hackensack University Medical Center with a federal government grant to create a rapid disaster response medical capability. The units function independent of local infrastructure and are transportable as standard tractor trailers. Upon arrival, they expand to create an environment similar to that of a permanent medical facility.
“I appreciated the opportunity to serve as this community continues to recover from the storm,” said Joan Manglicmot, M.D., a third-year Emergency Medicine resident at Hackensack University Medical Center. “I found that practicing medicine with fewer resources requires health care providers to be particularly flexible in providing the best care for patients.”
Since their inception, these mobile units have been deployed numerous times both to provide disaster relief, such as during Superstorm Sandy, to supplement medical care at large-scale events, including 2014 Super Bowl, and during hospital repairs, as is the case in St Croix.
“Global outreach offers an opportunity to be of service as a health care advocate,” said Jeffrey Boscamp, M.D., co-chief academic officer and senior vice president of Medical School Development and Integration at Hackensack Meridian Health. “The Emergency Medicine resident rotation also provides new perspectives on patient care and heightens the overall resident experience.”
Dr. Manglicmot, who served at her own expense, has received generous support from local business owners on the island who demonstrated their appreciation for her help at the hospital where she provided emergency medical care.
“I was grateful for the support of the people of St. Croix who helped to make this possible and made me feel so welcome,” said Dr. Manglicmot.
The idea for an Emergency Medicine resident rotation to help on St. Croix was generated by discussions between Beth Joseph, M.D., director of Emergency Medicine at the St. Croix hospital, and Herman Morchel, M.D., a Hackensack University Medical Center Emergency Medicine physician who serves as medical and engineering director of the Hackensack University Medical Center Advance Medical Emergency Resources Coalition disaster response mobile medical units, which have been deployed to the St. Croix hospital to help during storm damage remediation.
“This new resident initiative supports our mission to deliver educational and medical resources to communities with disparate health care,” said Douglas Finefrock, D.O., vice chair of the Emergency and Trauma Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Through the creation and development of this model, Dr. Morchel is helping to ensure that we achieve our shared purpose to transform health care and serve as leaders of positive change.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the deployment of the mobile hospital to St. Croix last year. The state-of-the-art modular mobile hospital unit is owned and operated by AMERCO, a nonprofit consortium of New Jersey hospitals, in collaboration with the Department of Health’s Mobile Satellite Emergency Department.
Looking ahead, the goal is to expand this resident rotation program. Hackensack University Medical Center Emergency Medicine residents are afforded one elective month in their final year of training. Many have expressed interest in following in the footsteps of Dr. Manglicmot.
Asked to offer tips for other residents, Dr. Manglicmot said, “Be there to learn and be open to understanding new cultures, which is the best way to connect with patients. Always begin by listening — it’s an important way to demonstrate respect, wherever you practice.”
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