A paramedic/firefighter from Lincoln, Nebraska, Robert Treasure, is back home from Washington, DC, after providing medical support during the state funeral for former President George H.W. Bush. Mr. Treasure serves as a member of the National Disaster Medical System’s (NDMS) Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT).
During the time the public pays their respects, NDMS personnel along with U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers stand ready to provide advanced life support and basic medical care to the thousands of people from around the nation attending the event.
NDMS is a federally administered program that can support communities with medical care, veterinarian care, and mortuary assistance during disasters or public health emergencies. NDMS is among the resources made available by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). They also work behind the scenes at some of our nation’s biggest events, often at the request of the Office of the Attending Physician and the U.S. Capitol Police.
“Typically at events like this we see people who have minor cuts or sprains or other non-life threatening injuries/illness, such as dehydration or hypothermia” explains Ron Miller, acting director of ASPR’s NDMS. “However, we also have provided initial life-saving care for more serious injuries or illnesses and stabilized patients for transportation by DC Fire/EMS to a local hospital.”
NDMS teams consist of physicians, nurses, paramedics, fatality management professionals, and experienced command and control staff. There are more than 6,000 team members organized in to 70 response teams. Providing medical care during emergencies and special events, such as the George H.W. Bush State Funeral, can overwhelm local and state resources. ASPR looks to the expertise within NDMS and USPHS from across the country to assist in the response.
The former president’s body laid in state in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol in Washington, DC, from 7:30 pm on Monday, December 3 through 7:00 am on Wednesday, December 5 (round the clock). On Wednesday, December 5, a public funeral service was held at Washington National Cathedral. In Houston, a private funeral service is planned for today, Thursday, December 6, before he is laid to rest in College Station alongside his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, who died earlier this year, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at age 3.
As part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ASPR’s mission is to save lives and protect Americans from 21st century health security threats. ASPR leads the nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. During a special event, ASPR stands ready to serve in case of an emergency. For more information about federal medical response and NDMS, visitwww.phe.gov.