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The pivotal role of anesthesiologists in the implementation of disaster plans is not widely appreciated.
To describe the role of anesthesiologists as managers in the operating room (OR) especially during hospital disaster management.
On 25 February 1991, King Fahd Hospital of the University in Eastern Saudi Arabia, was alerted, received, triaged, and treated the victims of a Scud missile attack on a United States military barracks which killed 28 and injured more than 100 service personnel.
There were 47 males and 15 females admitted to the hospital. Their initial triage categories of injuries were: 1) red, 23; 2) yellow, 27; and 3) green, 7. The flow of patients through the main operating rooms occurred in two peaks: 1) treated within nine hours (60%); and 2) during the next 11 hours (40%). A total 101 units of blood and blood products were consumed.
The role of the Chief of Anesthesiology was vital in the dynamics of the situation regarding appropriate deployment of staff and ensuring an orderly throughput of victims in the operating room. He also was required to keep track of resources and supply levels in the operating room, so that he could advise the hospital administration appropriately.
The successful management of a large multi-casualty incident, which involved use of the operating rooms, depended upon the efficient coordination of clearly defined functions with the Chief of Anesthesiology Service as the team leader.
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