This has been a tragic week for our country. The four commercial airline crashes of Sept. 11, directed at densely occupied office buildings and centers of government, put the nation into a heightened state of security, preparedness and response. The number of those killed or injured, including scores of rescue workers, is unfathomable.
As did the rest of the nation, many agencies in the Puget Sound area and the WWAMI region activated their emergency preparedness centers and worked in cooperation with local, county, state and federal emergency management systems. Among these agencies were several community-based, military-based and veterans affairs health-care facilities that join with the UW in teaching and research.
Here at the UW Academic Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center (HMC) and UW Medical Center (UWMC), and the pediatric affiliate hospital, Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, participated in the national and regional efforts by activating their emergency preparedness management plans. These plans and related drills have been enacted in King County to equip medical personnel to provide patient care in the midst of various types of terrorist scenarios.
While the events of Sept. 11 unfolded, HMC and UWMC made counselors available to patients, their families, staff, students, and faculty to offer emotional support. The UW and other academic medical centers across the country remain alert to requests from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government agencies to assist during the recovery efforts in New York City and Washington, D.C. Throughout it all, the staff, faculty, residents and students at UW Academic Medical Center and its WWAMI affiliates are maintaining operations to ensure excellent care for patients.
People enter the health fields largely because they are motivated to care for and serve others. Looking at the exemplary dedication of our health professional colleagues in the hospitals of New York City and Washington, D.C., we can see that persisting in these life-enhancing goals is vitally important to our country.
Paul Ramsey, M.D.
Vice President for Medical Affairs
And Dean of the School of Medicine