Hospital Rehearses for Nerve Gas Victims

Oct 26, 2011

Upon entering Patti A. Clay Hospital in Richmond, visitors today may have met a gas-masked attendant.  The Richmond hospital was taking part in an emergency response drill.  The drill, which involved first responders throughout Madison County, rehearsed their response to an accident at the Bluegrass Army Depot.  As part of the exercise, hospital spokeswoman Jill Williams says they treated three victims of nerve gas.

"This is a pretty long day and pretty exciting high energy kind of day to prepare us for who we are gonna’ handle an emergency situation,” said Williams.

Williams says it’s difficult to say how many patients might come to the hospital in a real emergency…

“One of the challenges in a real life scenario should it be an incident at the Blue Grass Army Depot is the amount of injectibles that we have on hand to take care of those patients.  Of course patients also go to Berea hospital….there’s also….we have transfer agreements with Lexington hospitals,” added Williams.

 Williams says staff members were also caring for real patients who had come to the health care facility for treatment...

“So we have a large number of patients still here,…whether it be for an emergency room visit or for lab work or diagnostic work of some sort…so that’s always a challenge and it kind of has to make us overly communicate with those patients what exactly is going on and why are we doing this for their benefit,” said Williams.

A Blue Grass Army Depot drill is typically held each fall.  The depot is among the last federal facilities to warehouse the nation’s chemical weapons.