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NJ hospital unit brings care to scenes of crisis

The Record, June 21, 2011

When crisis — big or small — strikes in Passaic County, there's a special medical unit ready for action, akin to the mobile Army surgical hospitals made famous in the "M*A*S*H" television series. St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center has gathered a group of professionals from all levels of the medical field into a team equipped to respond to any type of disaster or emergency imaginable. The team's paramedics, physicians, respiratory therapists and nurses are available to the city and the county 24/7. "The goal is to respond to things when the need is critical," said John Pruden, MD, an emergency physician at St. Joe's for more than 28 years. He gave as examples a person trapped in a car in need of an amputation; evacuation of a senior citizen complex because of a power outage; and standby at a power plant because of fume inhalation by the workers as scenarios where the team would be dispatched. "This is not a 'pick them up and take them to the hospital' kind of truck," said Pruden.