Oregon Disaster Medical Team Reports for Duty at the Olympics

02/20/02    Portland, Ore.

Six members of Oregon's Disaster Medical Team (ODMT) flew to Salt Lake City this week to offer medical support at the Olympics. The team was activated by the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) and joins 17 other teams from around the country. Oregon Health & Science University is the primary sponsor for the team and supports several of its staff, who are volunteer members.

The team was deployed to Salt Lake City on Feb. 14 and will return to Oregon on Feb. 25. Their mission is to provide medical support in the event that local authorities request federal assistance.

"It's exciting to be a part of something like this," said Jim Thomas, a paramedic who lives in Lebanon while working in Drain and a volunteer member of ODMT. "It gives us more experience, allows us to become more familiar with the NDMS, and network with other federal and civilian teams."

The ODMT members in Salt Lake City are:

  •  Helen Miller, M.D., emergency physician and team leader from Eugene
  •  David Cary, R.N., paramedic and nurse from Prairie City
  •  Frank Hiltebrand, paramedic from Portland
  • Jon Jui, M.D., emergency physician from Portland
  •  Steve Myren, EMT-Intermediate from Boardman
  • Jim Thomas, paramedic from Lebanon

This is the fifth mission the ODMT has responded to since it was formed a year ago. The team traveled to the Special Olympics in Alaska, Rough & Ready in California, the World Trade Center attack in New York and staffed a medical clinic in Haiti.

The ODMT is an independent, nonprofit organization of 85 volunteer health care professionals. It is the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) representing Oregon in the NDMS and one of 39 such teams across the country. The team plans and trains to respond and provide relief health care services when local, county and mutual aid reserves are overwhelmed due to a mass casualty incident or disaster event. In the event of a disaster in Oregon, the team is equipped to rapidly respond. One of the primary missions of ODMT is to address urgent and emergent medical issues in the first 72 hours of a disaster event, before outside agencies can assist. ODMT is also a Level II Disaster Medical Assistance Team (OR-2 DMAT), and can be deployed by the federal NDMS to respond to disasters anywhere in the United States.