Deployment of Field Hospitals to Sudden Onset Disasters
National or International deployments of field hospitals to sudden onset disasters (SOD), such as natural disasters, may be necessary when the event occurs in remote areas, with scarce medical support or when the local medical facilities are overwhelmed, destroyed, or damaged.
In most instances, a field hospital will temporarily replace the local medical facility and provide emergency medical and surgical care to the general population. Because the deployment of a field hospital may be several hours after the incident occurred, it is unlikely to have to treat a large number of critical patients directly related to the SOD.
Field hospitals need to be deployed by organizations that are completely self-sufficient with respect to personnel, equipment, and air assets and that perform training and exercises on a consistent basis. Military field hospitals should be considered the gold standard.
This chapter will describe the most important issues to consider when planning deployment of a field hospital.