Here is the third contestant vying for the coveted Contributor Position here at Don’t Get Bit. A fantastic look at Hospitals, Majax and Contingencies by Edward. To vote simply hit the like button at the bottom of the post!
The hospital is arguably the most vital location at the beginning of any potential undead outbreak. Consider any accident or emergency; we call 999 or 911 and get help from police, paramedics and fire department since they are there to aid the public and are all noble services that try their utmost every single day. We depend on these people to save us in our times of need. A hospital is the place where we go to heal, recover and receive professional help and it’s always the right thing to do to seek medical attention should you need it at your local GP surgery or hospital. Should anyone ever get bitten by any animal, wild, trained pet or human, they would get help and for anybody reading this that would involve getting ones behind to the nearest hospital. When a catastrophe occurs, or “when the s**t hits the fan” (WTSHTF), we know where to run usually.
To quote the classic M. Brooks survival guide, “In any other disaster, a hospital should be
first on your list of havens. Not so when the dead rise.” Which doctor would treat a claim
of a zombie bite with the appropriate concern if in their many years studying and practising
medicine they have no knowledge of revenants? These people need to take their jobs very
seriously and anyone in an A&E (or ER) department crying that the dead are returning
to life wouldn’t just be dismissed but in all probability removed from the hospital by
security personnel so as to not cause distress and panic. Depending on how and where the
infection spreads from e.g. from one man calling 999 after being attacked out in the middle
of nowhere or the first couple of cases from a busy city, suspicion of actual reanimated
cannibalistic cadavers among medical professionals would be very slow. As more cases
come in and the first patients succumb to their injuries, the doctors and nurses of your local
hospital will be more concerned with being inundated with bite case patient or those dying
and not responding to medication to worry about the chances of the deceased coming back
to life. And we all know why; zombies are not real, the suggestion that horror movies will
actually become real life is rather ludicrous for most people.
Unfortunately, I cannot claim that I am a registered nurse. Bummer but it does not mean
that I don’t have a good understanding of nursing, some medical interventions and
procedures, hospital workings and infection control and like applying the nurse’s mind to
my interests. Once an emergency department reaches crisis or anticipates crisis states,
a hospital will issue whatever they may call their major accident (or Majax) plans. These
occur when the hospital either reaches critical bed space (close to or not enough beds for
the number of patients), the ER is or going to soon be totally swamped e.g. a disastrous
motorway pile up or there is a threat to the hospital such as fire or bomb. These Majax
incident plans can take on many forms. The ones which I have experienced both in A&E
and on the wards have involved pulling almost all trained staff in to work, the potential
for opening hazardous material shower cubicles, clearing as many patients from A&E and
planning to inflate an extra shelter in the ambulance bay outside to accommodate the
sheer number of people. The high alert status involves considerable communication around
the hospital and concentrated effort in triage (assessing and sorting of urgent cases in an
emergency situation). But how long into an outbreak would it be before enough people
knew how to handle not just one zombie but dozens, not to mention the innumerable
others who may be bitten and coming to hospital?
I have not asked my current hospital (and employer’s) plans for this type of incident for
fear of being treated much like the man who recently became branded in Leicester, UK
as a loony. I believe I will soon ask and try and find out, but therein lies the problem;
once an employee in any respectable medical institute seems to believe in zombies and “the dead wanting your
braaaains,” you lose a lot of credibility as a professional. As such, when in this hellish
circumstance and the hospital has to instantly take on dozens of cases of violent attacks
involving bites, it will not be until they are up again and opening their jaws for the living’s
flesh that anyone will seriously accept zombies as a reality and not make believe or hysteria.
As a zombie geek who works in a large hospital in the UK, this worries me slightly…
The first trickle cases will likely be the first victims from one or more zombies and as the
original incident escalates the police will be called to the location. The chance of an officer
being infected is pretty high since, like the staff at the hospital, he won’t believe the victim
is what it is; dead and hungry. The first few cases may spark a growing dead in the hospital’s
A&E when several similar cases come in, several of whom may be emergency personnel.
It cannot be stressed enough how important this time is between the first and 30 cases.
Depending on how quickly the first case brought in dies and reanimates, the staff do not
have much time to realise or prepare for what sort of storm is coming their way. Should
the original zombie be restrained or destroyed, the first couple of cases be DOA (dead on
arrival) or remain in the ER instead of being transferred, then the situation just might be
contained within one environment e.g. Rec (2007) or 2008). When the first few reanimate
their immediate victims will be staff who had been trying to save their life and will no
doubt be utterly stunned, their relations who would likely embrace them or mortuary staff
should there be a longer period of peaceful death before they get up again. These attacks
will be unsuspected unless every single one of them appreciates zombie caution but will
be otherwise entirely inevitable. Suspicion and fear will skyrocket at this moment as the
repeating link is finally made between bite and death and either the hospital will have a plan
for what to do or they do not. If police or armed forces are not present in the hospital they
will most certainly be contacted now since the hospital staff will no longer know what to do.
At this point, regardless of the number of cases coming in, the hospital must recognise and
effectively deal with the threat otherwise the entire building will become a countywide
conduit to infection and reanimation. The 2009 mathematical model of an outbreak
“A zombie outbreak is likely to lead to the collapse of civilisation, unless it is dealt with
quickly. While aggressive quarantine may contain the epidemic…the most effective way to
contain the rise of the undead is to hit hard and hit often…or else we are all in a great deal
of trouble” Munz et al 2009
In the pandemonium and horror that will occur as the infection and panic spreads in
the community outside the hospital, all these afflicted individuals will descend on the
hospital with their bite or scratch marks, partial devouring, “insanity” or “drunken riot”
cases brought in by police, injuries gained from fleeing, desperate struggles between
those escaping and the ordinary but brutal accidents e.g. traffic collisions. Unless each
clinic, surgery and hospital has a full contingency on this type of event, how on earth can
it be contained is beyond anyone’s control. The sheer panic of those in the emergency
departments, growing desperation of those outside seeking aid and security inside, and
those trapped on higher floors by the bedlam on the ground slowly working its way up will
make hospitals a terrifyingly dangerous place to be. Truly efficient weapons such as hefty
bladed tools are rarely found in hospitals and so improvised bludgeons would be the only
implements used by civilians against the dead apart from restraining them. Infection is
bound to happen whilst attempting to subdue undead patients with medication that will
have no effect in their dead veins. As for countries like the USA where guns are far more
prevalent than here in the UK, effective dispatch using firearms will come in far sooner with
the help of an armed police force and will help save many lives. However, here in England
our police force only carry guns when there is a threat of a fire fight so such an armed
response will not arrive immediately. We will have to rely on our baton wielding coppers,
security staff and whatever makeshift cudgel comes to hand to survive in a nightmare
hospital if we stay at our posts and God knows what chaos if we were able to flee.
What point am I trying to reach here? That the hospital is absolutely critical to controlling
at least the speed of the infection rate. Hospitals have plans which go by various names
to control the emergency influx of patients but the realisation, spreading the word and
mobilising successfully in such an eventuality to would be extraordinarily rare. The best
contingency I have found available on the internet for their community has been from the
Connecticut Freemason Grand Lodge, USA and deserves a look. But once cases begin to
reanimate outside the hospital, these pockets of developing infection will spread beyond
control. These are some suggestions of mine in no particular order to help such locations
lock down and prepare for a snowballing zombie epidemic:
• Gather as many supplies (IV fluids, medicine, food etc.) as possible from sub-
basement levels and distribute accordingly to each department in consolidated
supply trips. Each ward has a huge daily turnover of supplies and anyone sent
ordinarily to get a certain item from another department would be another person
at risk in this situation. Appropriate allocation of supplies will help specialist areas
keep running longer if the outbreak breaks out around the hospital and departments
are kept under undead siege.
• Redirect portering and estates and facilities staff to carry out emergency delivery
around the hospital under guidance of department heads. A multi-disciplinary
approach must be regarded i.e. all working teams must submit what their essentials
are and what they can spare for other departments. To quote the vegan hardcore
band Good Clean Fun, “Who Shares Wins” and if there was ever a time for
collaboration, this would be it.
• Guards of either security or volunteers should be posted in all ground floor
stairwells, lift exits and entrances. Entrances to the A&E department must be
diligently safeguarded and have triage personnel at all times directing patients.
Anyone used as a guard must have a weapon with the ability to puncture or make
significant compound fracture to the skull failing the presence of bladed weapons
• The power may go out and the backup generator will not last forever. So many
areas will be dependent on juice so crew and maintain backup generators from the
beginning, collecting fuel or whatever resources are needed to keep them guarded
and working for the long run.
• Shut off elevators except for emergency delivery use only by porters and emergency
patient transfers around the hospital. Stairs will be used by those only on foot since
beds and rolling cages for supplies and equipment must take priority.
• Inform and evacuate all nonessential people e.g. relatives, visitors from premises.
Tell such individuals to go home, lock doors and windows, avoid making any calls and
wait for ward staff to contact them. The phone lines will be jammed with the entire
country calling each other soon enough so getting these extra bodies away from the
hospital, back home and not either clogging up the lines or hanging around a very
dangerous location waiting to be bitten is safest for everyone.
• Post a guard on all major entrances to departments/wards and lock down other
doors and check fire exits. These individuals must be able to allow access only to
those who will not pose a threat to the ward.
• Inform every single member of staff to watch out for bites and to immediately
quarantine anyone who has received a bite or flesh puncturing wound in an attack
and inform their line manager. Managers and heads of departments must be
informed that each bite patient will die, that no treatment will cure the individual
and after they die they will return and attack. Each bitten and dying person in
quarantine must be “red-specialled” (the common colour coded guide for one-to-
one constant supervision of sectioned patients) by an appropriate individual with an
effective weapon capable of causing enough damage to the skull. Each “zed-special”
must know to carry out their task on the moment of death without hesitation or
prevention from grieving loved ones.
• Any suggestions would be great and a very interesting discussion so chip in if you
Each hospital, depending on its layout, service area (radius of community who would
come to the hospital) and security, would be different but taking the above factors into
consideration may help keep a hospital together until the government and police force are
able to lock down the hospital (should that be possible) and take control. In short, without a
real contingency plan for such an epidemic, any hospital could turn into a zombie breeding
ground as masses of bitten, doomed civilians flood into the hospital seeking aid only to die
and turn on their family and carers.
What’s with the cleavers, guys?
I may expand upon this subject later, taking into consideration more detailed aspects of a
hospital under siege such as discussing exactly when to stop the victim from rising again and
undertaking the frightening nature of the duty. For the time being I hope you have enjoyed
reading my post and maybe got you thinking about what to expect from your local services
WTSHTF zombie-style. I shall be looking into all sorts of subjects such as protective clothing,
weapon choice, house defence, one-to-one and multiple assailant tactics, medical treatment
when on the run, health under siege and maybe looking at the psychology groups under
stress and how that will apply to surviving against the dead…plus whatever else I’m asked or
captures my zombie attention.
Stay vigilant, people! 😀