DC medical professionals prepare to ‘rise to the occasion’ for inauguration

WASHINGTON — The metropolitan D.C. region’s medical community has been preparing for the inauguration, both individually and collectively.

“While we want nothing untoward to happen and we are far from being perfect, we have spent a lot of time trying to be ready to rise to the occasion to meet whatever the situation requires,” said Craig DeAtley, the director of emergency management for MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital.

The region’s health care system includes hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers and private facilities in D.C., Maryland and Virginia that DeAtley said have been working together for years.

“Whether it’s for other planned events such as the Fourth of July or the State of Union [address], or responding to real-world emergencies such as the Metro fire,” DeAtley said, “we train on a regular basis — through a variety of a different means.”

In 2016’s fatal L’Enfant Plaza Metro smoke incident, at least 200 people were evaluated, with 86 taken to area hospitals.

Recent inauguration preparedness efforts in conjunction with the D.C. Health Department and others have included rehearsing alert notification of all the health system partners, reviewing mass casualty response plans, and focusing on intelligence that might suggest potential threats.

Several months of planning, DeAtley said, have included reviews of past inauguration practices to identify what’s worth repeating, as well as efforts to identify new or different problems that might be unique to this inauguration.

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