Introduction: The Major Incident Hospital (MIH) is a unique facility strictly reserved to provide immediate large-scale emergency care for victims of disasters and major incidents. We evaluated the implemented organization to identify strengths and weaknesses, and provide knowledge essential for further improvement of preparedness.
Method: According to the Protocol for Reports from Major accidents and Disasters (PRMD) and along with our five scenarios for activation, we analyzed all the data from evaluation reports of all our deployments since the MIH was founded in 1991.
Results: The MIH was able to provide group-wise emergency care to military (29 admissions) as well as civilian victims of major incidents and disasters, both national (260) and international (226). Group-wise treatment was advantageous for quarantine, logistics, registration, emotional support and (pre)arrangements for family, media and security. Strong points are preparedness and availability of a dedicated facility, including ICU, X-ray and OR facilities, irrespective of MRSA status and prearranged cooperation, e.g., with a trauma centre, poison centre and the military. Evaluation, research and training resulted in a barcode registration system and continuous adaptations to improve preparedness. Shortage of resources did not occur; use of the MIH's available resources for national incidents though, could be further optimized.
Conclusions: Recommendations for the future are: improvement of imbedding in regional and national procedures, continued dedicated time and staff for training, research and development, improvement of nuclear/biological/chemical decontamination facilities and preparedness, implementation of standardized scoring systems and expansion of registration systems to the prehospital setting.
Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00068-010-0067-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.