LewisGale Hospital Montgomery: Emergency preparedness is top priority

Hospital employees share the importance of being prepared for emergencies at any time

After over a dozen children came in a crash just a week prior, hospital employees share their stories and the importance of being prepared for emergencies like the one on that day.

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The chaotic aftermath of a Blacksburg crash is still fresh in the hospital personnel’s minds.

The Director of Emergency Services at LewisGale Hospital Montgomery, Devin Lapuasa, shared how it feels to work emergencies from the inside.

“It is chaotic. But in the emergency world, our world is chaotic,” said Lapuasa. “Twenty patients within a couple of minutes is intense, and it is for any hospital.”

Last Wednesday, 20 children came into the ER after their daycare vans crashed on Route 460.

“We recognized that this was going to be an abnormal event for our emergency department and so we created a plan, mobilized resources, and then just got ready for it to hit,” said Lapuasa.

The hospital separated children with minor injuries and treated them in a hallway to save beds for children with the worst injuries.

Dr. Brian Ekey is an emergency physician at the hospital, but it just so happened he was volunteering with the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad the day of the crash.

“We were the first responders on scene,” said Ekey.

Staff held children’s hands, directed guardians at the hospital entrance, provided kids with snacks, and even went out to buy clothing and toys.

“As scary as the situation is and heartbreaking it is, the response from the community and from the hospital was really beautiful,” said Lapuasa.

Lapuasa said they have to prepare for any emergency. New employees go through trauma training, plus all staff goes through annual training and emergency drills.

“We’ve done drills that include, you know, a bus accident,” said Lapuasa. “You’re never prepared in the emergency department of what’s going to walk in the door, but you’re prepared with how you’re going to take care of anything that comes into the door.”

As a father himself, Ekey said he was glad to help the kids but for him, it’s “just another day.”

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You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!