GU Hospital Hospital Enters Disaster Mode, Treats One Pentagon Victim

By Liz McDonald Hoya Staff Writer

Courtesy Gabe Cappelli Students sit in Sellinger Lounge for a prayer service after the attacks Tuesday afternoon.

Bracing for an extensive number of victims, Georgetown University Hospital switched into external disaster mode Tuesday – upgrading security and arranging for additional staff assistance.

“The hospital immediately entered a lockdown,” said Freddi Brubaker, nurse coordinator for the emergency department. “We strictly enforced our disaster plan by securing patient safety and calling folks in for extra help.”

Only one patient from the Pentagon was treated at the university’s hospital. Brian Birdwell, 40, was brought to the hospital by private car, where he was stabilized before being transferred to the Washington Hospital Burn Unit. Birdwell, a resident of Lorton, Va., remains in critical condition.

The hospital did not send any staff to assist at the Pentagon, Brubaker said.

Members of GERMS volunteered as support staff in areas of the university and the District. According to GERMS President Rich Sharp (COL ’02), GERMS responded to the request of the D.C. Fire Department and replaced Engine 29 at the intersection of Foxhall Road and MacArthur Boulevard.

“Had the situation called for it, we would have used the GERMS students as runners during the emergencies,” Brubaker said.

Sharpe said GERMS provided one ambulance and two student emergency medical technicians for 15 hours to the fire department, as well as 10 emergency medical technicians at the hospital.

“We additionally maintained 24-hour coverage of the main campus,” Sharpe said.

“We had a long line of people ready to help out anywhere and everywhere they could. Fortunately, our services weren’t needed to the extent they anticipated.”

Large numbers of students and faculty volunteered to donate blood at the hospital, but because of a shortage of staff members, hospital officials were unable to accept donations. Donors were sent downtown or encouraged to return later in the week.

“This is a long-term situation, and we are going to need blood just as much in three weeks,” Hospital Communications Representative Laura Gilbert said. “At the same time, it is important not to lose this incredible momentum.” GERMS and the American Red Cross will be sponsoring a blood drive today in Bulldog Alley from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Alex de Villalvilla (COL ’01) encouraged any students with O postitive and O negative blood types and those who have spent more significant time in Europe to donate as soon as possible. Beginning Monday, new Food and Drug Administration regulations will prevent any person who has spent more than six cumulative months in Europe from donating. “We’re hoping that in light of the incident, the FDA will relax or postpone the implementation of the regulations,” he said.

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