City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

January 24, 2007

City hospitals would share staff in disaster

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon will announce a partnership with 11 city hospitals today that would permit the sharing of staff and supplies in the case of a terrorist attack or other public health catastrophe, city officials said yesterday.

The written agreement, which covers the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Maryland General Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center, among others, establishes procedures for transferring patients, dealing with expenses and managing insurance claims that could take place after an attack.

City officials said the agreement would help streamline a spike in triage and emergency room traffic that would follow a disaster. Before the agreement, the bureaucracy of credentialing, insurance and confidentiality requirements could have hampered those efforts, officials said.

Dixon has scheduled a City Hall news conference to discuss the agreement today. The agreement was signed in April, according to a news release distributed last night. Dixon is also expected to announce that the city will take a more active role in coordinating mutual aid through the city's emergency operations center.

The other hospitals involved are Bon Secours, Good Samaritan, Harbor Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview, Mercy Medical Center, Sinai Hospital, St. Agnes and Union Memorial.

"This agreement shows that our hospitals and academic medical centers are placing a high priority on preparing for a natural disaster or bioterrorist event," Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, the city's health commissioner, said in a statement.

John Fritze

Harford County: Abingdon

Community helps fire victims' family

While fire investigators continued yesterday to sift through the debris of the six-alarm fire that claimed five lives in Abingdon on Thursday, the surviving family members completed funeral arrangements while community groups and social services agencies worked to collect donations to help the family.

The funeral service is scheduled for noon Saturday at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa. The family chose the spacious church, which can accommodate about 600 people, for a memorial to Jerome and Annette Milford Shropshire and three of their grandchildren.

Much of the cost of the funeral has been donated. Harford County Community Services is assisting Shaunette Shropshire - the mother of the three children who died in the blaze - and her surviving daughter, Iyanna Horne, 7, neither of whom was home at the time of the fire. A memorial fund also has been established at Bank of America.

"Everyone in the community is working to help this family," said Howard McComas, director of McComas Funeral Homes in Abingdon, which is handling the arrangements. "We are all impressed with how the community has come together and the outpouring of support. You expect that to happen, but when you see it, it is such a positive."

Jerome Shropshire, 72, and his wife, Annette, 47, were baby sitting 4-year-old Donald and 3-year-old Derrick White and 9-month-old Jhaniyah Davis, when the fire broke out. Investigators have determined that the blaze originated on the first floor of the century-old wood-frame home, but they have not pinpointed the location or the cause.

Jerome Shropshire was pulled from the house by rescuers but was pronounced dead upon arrival at a hospital. The bodies of the other victims were found on the second floor.

All five died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns, according to the state fire marshal. Levels of carbon monoxide found in the victims' blood indicated that the intense smoke rendered them all unconscious, investigators said.

Mary Gail Hare

Baltimore: Citywide

Goodwin to remain as fire chief

William J. Goodwin Jr. will continue to serve as chief of Baltimore's Fire Department under Mayor Sheila Dixon, the mayor's office announced yesterday.

Goodwin, 49, was appointed to the position in early 2002 by then-Mayor Martin O'Malley. The announcement follows Dixon's decision to retain O'Malley's police commissioner, Leonard D. Hamm.

"For many years, Baltimore has been building a reputation for having one of the best emergency response systems in the nation," Dixon said in a written statement. "Baltimore's firefighters are the heart and soul of that effort."

Goodwin oversees about 1,700 Fire Department employees and will continue to lead local and regional homeland security efforts, according to the announcement.

John Fritze

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