WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- Hospitals in major U.S. cities targeted by terrorists are ill-equipped to handle the surge of emergency care required in the wake of an attack, a report says.
The chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Henry Waxman, D-Calif., released the report titled "Hospital Emergency Surge Capacity: Not Ready for the Predictable Surprise." The report details a survey of Level I trauma centers in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago and Houston and their lack of ability to handle the flood of casualties like those experienced when Madrid was attacked by terrorists in 2004.
Additionally included in the report are Level I trauma centers in Denver and Minneapolis that also faired poorly. The two cities were included because they will be hosting the 2008 Democratic and Republican conventions.
Officials say the report was released to coincide with the committee's hearings held on Monday and again on Wednesday where U.S. Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff is expected to testify.
"The results of the survey show that none of the hospitals surveyed in the seven cities had sufficient emergency care capacity to respond to an attack generating the number of casualties that occurred in Madrid," the committee's release said.
The report says that the Level I trauma centers surveyed had insufficient space in their emergency rooms, a complete lack of intensive care unit beds and not enough regular inpatient beds.
The report cited Los Angeles and Washington with the least ability to handle an emergency surge situation.