While the St. Louis region awaits the grand jury decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown, area hospitals have been meeting to prepare for anything. DePaul Hospital received a few patients in August when the looting and demonstrating occurred in Ferguson. They, like other hospitals, are preparing for the worst to serve anyone in need of medical attention.
Because of recent events in Ferguson, SSM Health Care has set up an incident operation center at its headquarters to support the incident commands at the seven SSM hospitals in the area. Mike Harris, the Network Emergency Preparedness Manager said, “We’re not expecting the world to fall apart but were going to be ready for it if it does.”
The hospitals are members of a group called STARRS, the St. Louis Area Regional Response System. Pam Walker the St. Louis City Health Director said, “We really work hard to always be ready. So whether it’s Ferguson, losing power, a big storm coming through, or a terrorist attack, we have a huge hospital system in our grasp.”But St. Louis has long been a war zone: a city where violent crime (perpetrated almost entirely by individual black males, whose collective inability to restrain from criminality compels both white flight and businesses to relocate elsewhere) happens with such frequency that bodies shredded by bullets or full of gashes from knife-inflicted wounds present Air Force trauma surgeons a "battlefield" scenario.
To be blunt, the Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills (C-STARS), offers Air Force trauma surgeons insight into a world white flight and segregation allow them to avoid: "They typically don't get to see gunshot and stab wounds," said Capt. Scott Fallin, administrator of the St. Louis program. "Being here in the inner city prepares them for some of the blunt-trauma injuries they will see." [SLU’s 'battlefield' helps train military personnel,St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2-22-2011]:
• Air Force Dr. Dan Bruzzini sits behind a one-way mirror prepared to provide a handful of military medical personnel a glimpse of what they can expect once deployed to "bad-guy land."
On a table in the adjacent room, a sheet covers a $250,000 mannequin-like machine that resembles a young child with a bad belly wound and a less obvious head injury.Bruzzini keys a microphone. The simulation begins.
"There's been an explosion at a downtown marketplace," he says over an intercom. "Expect casualties in 30 to 60 seconds."
He says medics have found a 6-year-old boy under a collapsed wall. At Bruzzini's command, the team removes the sheet. For the next 20 minutes, using a computer program that manipulates the boy's vital signs and other body functions, Bruzzini throws a series of medical problems at the team. The strain is obvious as they struggle to keep the "patient" alive.
It's a feeling Lt. Col. Bruzzini knows well. He based the scenario on an experience of his in a six-month Afghanistan tour in 2007.
For several years now, St. Louis University Hospital has been among the final stops for many Air Force and Air National Guard medical personnel headed to combat zones. Here, Bruzzini and more than a dozen other Air Force and Air National Guard doctors, nurses and technicians teach an intense two-week program designed to prepare the students for the serious injuries they are certain to treat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"You have to give people the tools, the training and the experience beforehand," said Bruzzini, 42, of Webster Groves. "Otherwise, you're setting them up for failure."
The partnership between the Air Force and the hospital came about because of, in part, the downsizing of the military medical system that began more than a decade ago. The cuts closed military hospitals. As a result, most Air Force medical personnel now tend to work in smaller clinics and treat few serious injuries.
"They typically don't get to see gunshot and stab wounds," said Capt. Scott Fallin, administrator of the St. Louis program. "Being here in the inner city prepares them for some of the blunt-trauma injuries they will see."Hospitals are already prepared for whatever the "Justice for Michael Brown" mob sends their way, courtesy of a black population in metropolitan St. Louis that has long been engaged in an internecine war against itself (and the unfortunate white people who happen to be victims of - so called - "random" knock out game attacks or gun violence).
It's important to note one of the only ways to bring the black community together (and stop the violence - momentarily - in their community) is for them to find common ground in standing behind a black criminal who they feel was "executed" by a white cop.
Damn the evidence and testimony (with seven or eight blacks in Ferguson testifying to the grand jury on behalf of the Darren Wilson account of his encounter with Michael Brown, who all now live in fear of "snitches getting stitches") proving Michael Brown deserved to be face down in the streets of Ferguson; the 2008 "A Call to Oneness" in St. Louis, where 20,000 blacks marched to end black-on-black violence in St. Louis, has finally found grounding in the "Justice for Michael Brown" movement.
What do you mean "A Call to Oneness?" Well, it's yet another great moment in black history (just a notch or two below the black community in St. Louis providing a "battlefield" worthy of Air Force trauma surgeons to prepare for the conditions found in the theater of war). [Anti-violence march in city draws 20,000, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 06/02/2008]:
El Howard, 13, sat with his sisters on the wooden steps of their four-family flat on Newstead Avenue in St. Louis on Sunday. They talked about what they see on the sidewalks around them — syringe needles, beer bottles, drug pushers and crime scenes. They can't walk anywhere without being asked for money. They are never out past dark.
But on this day, the siblings saw something different — thousands of people, mostly African-American men, peacefully marching down their street, calling for an end to violence. The miles of marchers pointed to the sky and chanted, "One, one, one," prompting those lining the streets to join in.
As the last of them made their way past, El thought about what he had seen. The teen looked up and said: "It's inspiring."
The march was part of an initiative, "A Call to Oneness," organized by local church leaders along with civic, public and private institutions. Organizers wanted to march through crime-plagued areas and send a positive message to young black men.
"When you are one of the cities which leads the nation in homicides, you don't have many options in terms of thinking about doing something," said the event coordinator, the Rev. Freddy James Clark. "When we march through north St. Louis, we hope to create a moral climate. We hope to reclaim, through the vehicle of reconciliation, respect for the other and sanctity of life."
There was no official count, but organizers estimated that they had surpassed their goal of 20,000 participants. The procession stretched the entire length of the nearly two-mile route, which started near Page Boulevard and Kingshighway and ended at Tandy Park in front of Sumner High School.
The initiative grew out of a chat between Clark and Eric C. Rhone, a board member of the Regional Chamber and Growth Association. Disgusted over the grim statistics, they realized it was time to stop waiting for others to fix the problem. The march was the culmination of three days of workshops and discussions over issues facing African-American men. Organizers were planning a meeting Thursday night to plan their next step.
The march came at the beginning of summer, when crime rates usually rise, and after a deadly couple of months that put the city's homicide pace far above last year's. During one day in May, five people were murdered.
Many along the route said the march helped restore the sense of pride and community they felt when the Annie Malone May Day Parade followed the same streets. Two years ago, that parade moved downtown for more space.
"Things like this in the community, in the 'hood' as we say, remind us that we need to fight together ... that we're not just one person trying to fight this big old problem," said Thomas Maxwell, 56, who lives in Dellwood but grew up near the march route.
Those reminders are important. Fighting a drug problem, he said, he was homeless for three years and spent 18 years in prison for robbery. He now has custody of two of his children and plans to become a counselor.
"Things like this gave me strength to get back in there and struggle," he said.
If you can't laugh, you'll never understand the joke.
Those marching for "Justice for Michael Brown" do nothing more than resurrect the exact same spirit that compelled the Civil Rights agitators in Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham, Little Rock, Atlanta, Greensboro, and other southern cities to rebel against a system only hoping to keep 2014 Detroit from ever happening.
But 2014 Detroit did happen, proving the fears of those daring to defend the legitimacy of a system designed to perpetuate a civilization only whites are equipped with maintaining... correct.
And now, with an entire metropolitan region fearful of violence that could destabilize life in St. Louis, only one fact is clear: in 20 years, the "Justice for Michael Brown" crowd will be considered natural Republicans by white conservatives.
But St. Louis will still provide an environment where the Air Force trains trauma surgeons for the rigors of war, for the exact same reason black people occasionally organize to march against crime, gun violence, and homicide in the city... "Being here in the inner city prepares them for some of the blunt-trauma injuries they will see."