April 22, 2013 | | Comments 0
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Excellence amid chaos: A word from the land of the bean and the cod

If I might beg your indulgence, I just wanted to take a moment to recognize the herculean efforts of the Boston hospital community during last week’s bombing at the Boston Marathon. All too often, when disaster strikes, hospitals don’t receive many kudos—I guess the expectation is that hospitals are always ready for the worst (true, that).

Over the last decade or so as a consultant, I have had the opportunity to work with many of the folks who were charged with coordinating response and, to be honest, the level and nature of response from the hospitals in Boston was no great surprise to me. While Marathon Monday is certainly a “big” date on the preparedness calendar for Boston hospitals, I’ve seen a lot of the work behind the scenes and can only be impressed by the commitment to preparedness on the part of so many.

But in saying that, I also recognize that, by and large (or at least the ones I’ve visited), I believe that hospitals in the United States are extraordinarily well-prepared to handle emergencies of virtually every stripe. That’s not to say that every response effort is absolutely perfect—but these folks learn from those “opportunities” and continue to improve their organizations’ ability to respond to emergencies.

I hope to have the opportunity to work with more of you folks in the future, but in closing, please join me in a tip of the cap to the hospital folks in Boston. I am extremely proud to have worked with some of you and proud of the efforts by all concerned!

Postscript: I penned the above prior to the successful law enforcement resolution to the bombing in Boston. It sounds like it’s going to be a while before we find out anything of use regarding the planning, etc., of this catastrophic event, but I think it’s certainly worth tipping the cap once again to the awesomely coordinated efforts of all levels of the law enforcement community.  I’m sure there will be ample Monday-morning quarterbacking relative to just about any decision/strategy involved in bringing this incident to a (sort of) close, but all I know is that it was a sizable measure of comfort when flying back home to Boston last Friday evening to know that the matter was in hand and Boston had resumed some semblance of normalcy. It was good to be home!

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Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant based in Bridgewater, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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