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Mass casualty management of aircraft accident victims during COVID-19 pandemic

1 Department of Paediatric and Neonatal Surgery, Aster MIMS, Kozhikode, Kerala, India
2 Department of Quality Management Cell, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
3 President, Consortium of Accredited Healthcare Organisations (CAHO), New Delhi, India
4 Department of Microbiology, PESIMER, Kuppam, Andra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Lallu Joseph,
Quality Manager and Assoc. General Superintendent, Christian Medical College Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/QAIJ.QAIJ_5_22

Background: Quality management system involves organizational structure, procedures, processes, and resources involving multiple stakeholders with different cultural characteristics. For an accredited private corporate hospital, mass casualty combined with multiple stressful situations proves to be a litmus test for the preparedness of the hospital to meet the quality patient care needs during such events. One such tragic incident considered for this article is the aviation accident that occurred during the closing hours of the day on August 7, 2020, involving – Air India Express Flight 1344, a Boeing 737–800 operating an international repatriation flight which crashed on landing at Kozhikode International Airport, Kerala, India. The accident occurred when COVID – 19 pandemic had shaken the entire world including India. During that time, the South-West monsoon had also set in this part of the subcontinent, which added to the recipe of the catastrophic accident. Materials and Methods: Aster DM Healthcare is an emerging healthcare provider in India, with an inherent emphasis on clinical excellence. It provides primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary healthcare through our network of 14 hospitals across India. One among them is ASTER Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences Ltd (MIMS) situated in Calicut, Kerala. This is a case study that describes the actual disaster management by ASTER MIMS that received and managed the 47 patients transferred from the accident site. Results: The outcome of this study revealed the leadership-driven robust nature of the quality management system that prevailed in the organization. The leadership had the capacity to harmonize, coordinate, and control each staff member of the hospital to understand their roles and responsibilities through repeated drills and training programs. Some of the measurable outcomes were response time, fast adjustments of duties, low mortality, length of stay, and patient satisfaction. Conclusion: As Avedis Donabedian's description model of quality, good structure leads to good processes, good processes lead to good outcomes, the mass casualty management system of the hospital through the implementation of proper policies, procedures, and practices catered to better patient care and outcomes.

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