In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in late 2012, millions of people in Connecticut and neighboring states were left without power and turned to their emergency generators for electricity. But generators come with a risk: carbon monoxide poisoning.
If someone is accidentally exposed to the odorless and colorless gas, medical attention is needed immediately. A few minutes can make the difference between life and death.
For his Practicum Internship at the Planning Department of the Yale New Haven Health System, Yale School of Public Health M.P.H. student Drew Peterson created a detailed map of clinics throughout Connecticut that have the specialized equipment to deal with such emergencies.
He created a diagram that documents clinic locations, size, range of physician specialties and the number and type of hyperbaric chambers offered. Hyperbaric chambers are commonly used to treat victims of CO poisoning as well as scuba divers suffering from decompression sickness.
Strange as it may seem, such a map did not previously exist, and Peterson says that the project gives emergency planners a new tool to quickly understand the sizes and offerings of clinics across the state.
The map is only one part of a report on supply and demand of wound care services in Connecticut, but with this report, hospital professionals now have a more complete picture of a clinic’s capabilities. Yale New Haven Hospital, meanwhile, is using Peterson’s report to help select an appropriate array of services, equipment and staff to provide enhanced service.
Peterson feels that participating in the Practicum gave him practical, real-world experience in the field of public health and policy-making. About the program, he says “It was eye-opening to collaborate with a team of veteran planners and see the market analysis and decision-making processes at work.” He looks forward to following the progress of the wound clinic as the Yale New Haven Hospital continues to grow and develop in response to community needs.