Team of Upstate emergency docs rushed to bus crash that injured 26
Syracuse, N.Y. -- After a bus crashed on Interstate 81 near Nedrow early today, one of the first calls Onondaga County's 911 center made was to Upstate University Hospital's on-call emergency physician response team.
After getting the call at 2:40 a.m, Drs. Christopher Tanski and Erin Wirths rushed to the scene in an Upstate SUV equipped with medical gear and drugs. Another upstate doctor, David Landsberg, who specializes in treating patients who require intensive care, met them at the scene.
One doctor tended to the bus driver trapped in the vehicle while the others triaged and helped manage the care of injured passengers.
"In certain circumstances where you want to move patients quickly to the hospital, but you can't because they are entrapped in a vehicle or there are too many patients to bring all at once, we bring hospital level emergency care and the equipment directly to the field to the patients," said Dr. Derek Cooney, Upstate's director of Emergency Medical Services and disaster medicine.
The 911 center notifies the team whenever there is a mass casualty like the bus accident that injured 26 people. The team also responds to building collapses, big fires and other disasters. The vehicle is equipped with the same type of personal protective gear used by firefighters. It is also stocked with medications not carried by regular EMS crews.
What made the bus crash unusual was the "extreme nature of the entrapment," Cooney said.
Rescue crews worked for two hours to free the bus driver. He is listed in serious, but stable condition at Upstate, according to the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office. There were no deaths and most of the passenger injuries were minor.
"It could have been worse," Cooney said. "When we have these kinds of outcomes we are pleased."
The three doctors who responded to the scene were resting today and not available for interviews, according to Cooney.
"They had quite an evening," he said.