Surgeon General to Attend Surge Hospital Presentations

November 23, 2004

Texas A&M University College of Architecture students will present a wide variety of designs for buildings embodying the idea of surge hospitals at an all-day conference sponsored by The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center’s Office of Homeland Security. A surge hospital is designed to respond to surges of a large number of patients caused by a natural or man-made disaster that could cause existing hospitals to become useless or inaccessible.
The event will be held on Wednesday, December 1, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Emergency Operations Training Center at Brayton Fire School, adjacent to Easterwood Airport on the campus of Texas A&M University. Attending part of the conference will be Surgeon General of the United States Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, M.D.
Paul K. Carlton, M.D., FACS, director of the Office of Homeland Security at the A&M System Health Science Center, will welcome participants and lead the program. Serving as co-director of the project is George J. Mann, AIA, the Ronald L. Skaggs Endowed Professor of Health Facilities Design at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture.
OF SPECIAL NOTE is a media access / break period from 9:45 to 10 a.m. From 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., students will be on hand to present their various concepts of surge hospitals. Dr. Carmona is slated to speak briefly after the presentations, at 11:30 a.m.
The program will include morning presentations by representatives of several private companies, who will showcase technological innovations such as new diagnostic tools, emergency response vehicles and remote patient monitors. In the afternoon, representatives of federal, state and local government authorities will provide their perspectives on the surge hospital concept and its place in homeland security planning and programs. A second presentation of models and concepts by architecture students this one open to the public at large is scheduled for 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Dr. Carlton invited College of Architecture students to develop research ideas and architectural concepts for self-sustaining surge hospitals. A network of pre-designated, self-sustaining surge hospitals would provide a backup alternative in emergencies to the nation’s existing health care system.
Seventeen student teams from the College of Architecture have developed architectural solutions for surge hospitals located all over the United States from the conversion of the Washington D.C. Convention Center’s facilities, to a small motel in Schulenberg, Texas. Some of the solutions involve quickly adapting an existing facility into a surge hospital. The primary objective of the teams’ work is to explore simple but effective alternatives if U.S. hospitals become overwhelmed or inoperative in the event of natural or terrorist disasters.
In order to simulate the actual experience of architectural practice, physicians from the A&M System Health Science Center have agreed to act as clients, as the students and faculty explore the design of surge hospitals.

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