Mass Casualty Incident Management for Resource-Limited Settings: Lessons From Central Haiti

Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2022 Apr;16(2):770-776. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2020.439. Epub 2021 Mar 11.


Objective: Mass casualty incidents (MCIs) have gained increasing attention in recent years due multiple high-profile events. MCI preparedness improves the outcomes of trauma victims, both in the hospital and prehospital settings. Yet most MCI protocols are designed for high-income countries, even though the burden of mass casualty incidents is greater in low-resource settings.

Results: Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), a 300-bed academic teaching hospital in central Haiti, developed MCI protocols in an iterative process after a large MCI in 2014. Frequent MCIs from road traffic collisions allowed protocol refinement over time. HUM's protocols outline communication plans, triage, schematics for reorganization of the emergency department, clear delineation of human resources, patient identification systems, supply chain solutions, and security measures for MCIs. Given limited resources, protocol components are all low-cost or cost-neutral. Unique adaptations include the use of 1) social messaging for communication, 2) mass casualty carts for rapid deployment of supplies, and 3) stickers for patient identification, templated orders, and communication between providers.

Conclusion: These low-cost solutions facilitate a systematic response to MCIs in a resource-limited environment and help providers focus on patient care. These interventions were well received by staff and are a potential model for other hospitals in similar settings.

Keywords: emergency medicine; emergency service; hospital; low-income country; mass casualty incidents; road traffic collision.

MeSH terms

  • Disaster Planning* / methods
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Haiti
  • Humans
  • Mass Casualty Incidents*
  • Triage / methods