Terry: When I arrived, I ran into ORMC’s chief operating officer (COO) and told him I was on my way to the Laboratory Blood Bank. I immediately saw the frantic situation in the Blood Bank, with the technologists moving as fast as they could work up the MTPs. At this point, I still did not know how bad the situation was. I asked the supervisor what I could do. She said to take these MTPs to the Trauma Intensive Care Unit and when I came back to take more to the ED Trauma Room. After that I called the vice president of One Blood, Inc., the blood supplier for the Central Florida area, and said to keep 60 units of blood coming every hour until I told them to stop. They did, until about 6:00 pm. I kept communicating to the team. I went to Incident Command, giving updates of supplies and getting information of what had happened so I could keep my team informed.
Lourdes: We were able to triple our staff from two medical technologists and one laboratory assistant to nine team members in house. As team members arrived, I assigned different tasks to ensure that all were handled and there was no duplication of efforts. Assigned tasks included: receiving blood product (RBCs, PLTs, FFPs and Cryos) into our computer system for tracking; retyping RBC units; irradiating platelet units; and specific patient MTPs. We kept ourselves organized by using clipboards for each of our MTPs. Our planning had to include a replacement team because this was going to last more than 12 hours. We received staffing assistance from our other satellite hospitals. Throughout that day we supported seven MTPs as well as all other blood-product needs. MTPs continued on and off through Sunday night and into Monday, as surgeries were scheduled.
Lori: The laboratory has a corporate model, which means all of the laboratories in the system have the same instrumentation, policies and procedures, as applicable. This was a huge advantage because we could call on the Blood Bank staffs at four additional facilities, during that Sunday and in the following days.
One Blood, Inc. continued to provide unprecedented amounts of blood products throughout the day and evening. The Blood Bank team systematically tested each product, as normal protocol. Several times during the day and evening, there would be a stack of three 2’x 4’ boxes of blood products next to the one technologist doing the validation testing and documenting of the products.
My role during the event was to ensure the team had what they needed to do their job, but also to provide opportunities for them to step away for a break. Terry and I went to the cafeteria and spoke to the managers about getting pizzas and drinks up to the laboratory for the staff to have a meal. The food service managers provided multiple pizzas and water/drinks to our conference room for the team.
Another advantage of a corporate laboratory system is that another facility on our main campus was able to assist in performing the routine blood bank requests for patients not related to the mass casualty. This prevented delays for surgeries or any other patient-care issues. The location and availability of a pneumatic tube system allowed the other facility to assist with the thawing of blood products, which is limited by space and takes approximately 20 minutes. This enabled us to provide units much faster.