Re: Thank goodness that the number of casualties were relatively low
As both doctors stressed, all hospitals around the country have events that typically attract large crowds of visitors -- a county fair, July 4, New Year's Eve, race day... -- and those scheduled events are days that hospitals can prepare to potentially encounter mass casualties. But it's the regular days turned tragic, like September 11, that really demonstrate just how well hospitals (among other facilities) handle emergencies.
That's why Brigham and Women's holds so many drills of such variety throughout the year. And it's one reason they really dug deeply into what worked well, what worked okay, and what created bottlenecks after the Boston Marathon bombings. Recognizing that all problems resided in information systems -- and knowing the best way to improve them was to incorporate systems they could use every day -- they moved fast so they'd be ready by the next potential scheduled mass casualty incident day, July 4. Thankfully, they didn't have to test their systems then. But testing and retesting and drills are something all hospitals do (and if they're not, they darn well better start).