The Medical Response To Valhalla's Metro-North Crash

One person remains in critical condition and another four in serious condition after being injured in Tuesday night’s Metro-North collision in Valhalla, according to officials from Westchester Medical Center, the hospital where Tuesday’s crash victims are being cared for.

Of the other five people initially received for treatment at the center, four have been discharged and one is in fair condition.

Related: All Victims Named In Deadly Valhalla Train Crash

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Thankfully, emergency respondents are prepared for these types of situations.

Westchester Medical Center Director of Communications Andrew LaGuardia and Medical Director of Emergency Department Ivan Miller, MD, said the medical center’s response to the crash was executed with no major complications, despite the sudden nature of the accident.

Jguard18 / Wikimedia Commons

Those in need of emergency medical care were transported to Westchester Medical Center, a level-1 trauma center. 

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“[Receiving] 12 at once was the biggest challenge from last night—and being prepared if there were more,” said Miller. “A commuter train at rush hour can carry hundreds of people and initial reports indicated there may have been more.”

The center responded to news of the collision by initiating a “mass casualty incident” response plan that mobilized hundreds of hospital personnel to prepare for the then-unknown number of incoming patients. Miller said the plan uses a digital messaging system to quickly let medical personnel know that a mass casualty incident response has been initiated.

Miller said it took less than five minutes after receiving the first emergency call to activate the mass casualty response protocol.

“We got a massive response from all levels of the hospital: nurses, physicians, support staff, and senior administration,” said Miller. “With regular drilling and other training, Westchester Medical Center was ready and well prepared for such an incident.”

Though The Westchester Medical Center took in those in serious condition, a majority of those on the train did not suffer life-threatening injuries. In the aftermath of the crash on Tuesday, passengers who were not in need of emergency medical care were transported to The Cliffs at Valhalla, a nearby climbing and fitness gym. The gym’s owner, Mark Wolfert, was leaving The Cliffs on Tuesday night when the accident occurred. As a certified EMT, Wolfert aided the response with ten of his employees.

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Wolfert and his team transported around 200 passengers from the accident back to the gym, where they were supplied with food, water, and shelter. Since a number of people had evacuated the train without many of their belongings, The Cliffs also provided them with wifi and phones to contact their loved ones.

Despite the nature of the collision, Wolfert said the gym that night was not a chaotic scene. Although many of the passengers were quite shaken up, he said the comfort his gym provided helped put them at ease.

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