FOREST HILLS, NY –Delta Flight 1086 skidding off the LaGuardia runway Thursday left passengers shaken and some in need of medical treatment.
Three of those passengers were treated and released at Forest Hills Hospital, which had to spring into action shortly after getting news of the accident, and prepare itself to take in any number of patients.
“When situations like this arise, you rely on your prior drills and training,” said Michael Guttenberg, DO, director of emergency medicine at Forest Hills Hospital and medical director of the North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Center for Emergency Medical Services. “In the emergency department, regardless of whether there is an incident or not, there are surges in volume constantly.”
Members of the emergency medicine team were able to move existing patients into an area of the hospital to make room for the incoming Delta passengers.
“We relied on our good triage skills and, had it been necessary, we would have activated our emergency preparedness plan,” Dr. Guttenberg said. “This includes assigning non-medical personnel to handle other essential tasks such as communicating with patients’ families and moving patients through the hospital and the North Shore-LIJ Health System.”
One thing that was on the emergency department’s team side was the same weather that contributed to the airplane’s skid.
“The weather yesterday actually worked to our advantage to handle these additional patients and this situation because the emergency department was fully staffed and the volume was light due to the weather,” Dr. Guttenberg said.