A group of Lincoln-Way North High School students saw firsthand how medical personnel prepare for a disaster or an onslaught of medical emergencies.
The students, who are studying human anatomy/physiology at Lincoln-Way North, participated in a training exercise March 28 at Franciscan St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields.
They were first sprayed with a “chemical” and then told what symptoms to display, such as burning eyes or trouble breathing.
Medical personnel then quizzed each student before leading them to a decontamination tent and treating their symptoms.
“I thought it was a great way for our students to see how medical personnel assess patients when time is of the essence,” said science teacher and department chair Joe Skarbek. “A lot of times hospitals have a lot of wait time, but when a scenario like this occurs, time is truly precious.”
The hospital staged the medical emergency to review procedures and to test its hazmat readiness in case the NATO Summit, which is being held in Chicago on May 20 and 21, turns violent.
Many area hospitals are reviewing their procedures in case emergencies arise those two days.
The Lincoln-Way North students, who normally shadow doctors, nurses and other medical professionals during their weekly visits to St. James, agreed to serve as “patients” during the training exercise.
“I love that North and St. James have this mutualistic relationship,” said Skarbek. “I feel that we, my students and I, learn so much from the observations while the hospital gains some valuable insight at why and how they do things for their patients.”