In Boston, They Knew How the Dance Moved

Atul Gawande, a emergency room doctor in Boston, posted this on his Twitter feed, his piece for the New Yorker on why Boston ERs were ready. Everyone rallied. Everyone did their job. They “knew how the dance moved”

Talking to people about that day, I was struck by how ready and almost rehearsed they were for this event. A decade earlier, nothing approaching their level of collaboration and efficiency would have occurred. We have, as one colleague put it to me, replaced our pre-9/11 naïveté with post-9/11 sobriety. 

I remember attending a crisis workshop at the American Red Cross, too many years ago to count. And then there was a followup meeting at a hotel. Could it have been before 9/11? Perhaps so, because no one in the hotel room seemed all that worried about, for instance, how to evacuate Central New Jersey. I wrote about it and threw away the notes.

Hopefully, somebody — the right somebodies, kept the notes. Can we be confident that area hospitals have had all kinds of emergency drills?. The best way to prevent the worst is to prepare for it. 

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