Pandemic Influenza Surge Plan to Manage In-Hospital Deaths

New York City's mass fatality guidance comprises two parts: (1) a training course for health professionals who will be involved in fatality management, and (2) a planning tool. The course describes strategies, roles, and responsibilities that will be assumed by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner and health care facilities. It also outlines ways to manage decedents in several situations: (1) when death occurs in a hospital; (2) when the decedent is dropped off at a hospital by family; and (3) when the hospital morgue and routine surge morgue space are overwhelmed and management occurs via the use of a designated ad-hoc refrigerated storage space, termed a Body Collection Point (BCP), as part of a Citywide effort to manage a mass fatality incident. The planning tools include descriptions of morgue and Body Collection Point use, specification sheets, template resource lists, template job action sheets, and supporting guidance.

One reviewer thought that the training course and planning tool were the best available example of a regional plan for managing mass fatalities during a pandemic. The reviewer noted that New York City has done an exceptional job of creating a regional decedent management system that provides a wealth of detailed documents and training tools.

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