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CAMC continues prep for Boy Scout jamboree

By Candace Nelson

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - At its monthly board meeting Wednesday, Charleston Area Medical Center officials discussed ongoing preparations for the influx of more than 40,000 Boy Scouts for next month's national Jamboree.

With so many children on site and numerous high adventure sports available, some injuries are bound to happen, said Steve McGowan, a volunteer at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve and attorney for Steptoe & Johnson, during a presentation.

CAMC has been preparing for the more than 50,000 Scouts, volunteers and staff from all over the country who will gather at the 10,600-acre jamboree site at the Summit in Fayette and Raleigh counties. They'll get the chance to participate in ziplining, BMX racing, skateboarding and more during the Jamboree, which will be held July 15-24.

"We're looking at the potential impact on the medical community," said Dave Ramsey, CAMC's president and chief executive officer. "I've been told that at the last Jamboree, about 700 sought emergency room care ... and about 300 of those were admitted to a hospital. A lot of that will be handled down in the Beckley area, but we may have some ... we're just trying to go through the what-ifs: if we do see a lot of patients, how would we handle them."

CAMC, along with other hospitals in the region, held drills in April to prepare for various Scout-related scenarios, said Dale Witte, CAMC spokesman.

Women & Children's Hospital reacted to a scenario in which they would receive an onslaught of patients with an infectious disease -- in this case, meningitis.

Memorial's scenario concerned trauma related to a mock bus accident.

"Overall, all three CAMC hospitals have been planning for an increase in patients of all types," Witte said.

Officials continue to meet with the members of the Air Guard, workers with the Department of Health and Human Resources, and the state's preparedness and regional hospital disaster planning group.

Physicians' groups have been informed, emergency department staff are on notice, and pharmacies are prepared to help with some injuries, like snake bites.

Witte also said command centers will be activated if needed, and hospitals will send daily situational reports to state officials.

McGowen also noted in his presentation that West Virginia University is coming to help teach the science behind the sport, so Scouts can learn about science, technology, energy, engineering, math and health.

"We don't run ziplines so kids can go down with their hair on fire," McGowan said. "And these Scouts at the top of the zipline are going to calculate how long it will take them to get down and what the factors are to consider ... their weight, height, width, all of those should be in there."

McGowen said the public will be able to visit the Jamboree between July 17-23.

In other news:

* The CAMC Child Advocacy Center received accredidation from the National Children's Alliance. Maureen Runyon, the coordinator of the Child Advocacy Center said she is looking forward to a new facility, which should begin construction in September or October.

* The board voted on a resolution to honor L. Clark Hansbarger, who wrapped up 13 years as the associate vice president of health sciences for the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University in the Charleston Division.

* CAMC is looking to launch a pilot program to reduce re-admissions by scheduling appointment follow-ups and assessing the likelihood of re-admittance upon first visits.

* About 193 radiation safety vests are missing. Ed Welch, chairman of CAMC's quality committee, said he is unsure where the vests could be at the present time.

Contact writer Candace Nelson at or 304-348-5148. Follow her at

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