North Texas Mass Critical Care Task Force

In 2010, a regional collaboration of leaders, including physicians, hospital representatives, ethicists, clergy, legal professionals, public health experts, and elected officials,  came together as the North Texas Mass Critical Care Task Force with the goal of creating a set of clinical guidelines for use by physicians, hospitals, first responders, and other healthcare professionals during an overwhelming disaster. In a mass disaster when medical resources may be overwhelmed, these guidelines best ensure survival for the most patients. The guidelines adopted were based on successful models in numerous states across the country, and contain a framework in which healthcare providers, hospitals and other clinical settings can create their decision-making tools. The task force meets periodically to update the guidelines and to receive reports on their implementation among area healthcare systems. Click here to view roster. Staffed by Michael Darrouzet & Connie Webster

The charge of the North Texas Mass Critical Care Task Force is to facilitate the creation of a community wide triage framework for guiding medical decisions during county-wide public health emergencies.

The three major goals of this process are to: 1) save as many lives as possible; 2) help patients and families in North Texas become more aware of the difficult decisions physicians and clinical care teams must make during times of overwhelming medical emergency in which the demand for medical services outstrips the supply of such services; and 3) seek greater consistency in decision making among the many health systems.

The North Texas Mass Critical Care Task Force will meet this ultimate goal by making recommendations for adoption to community stakeholders a triage framework incorporating medical standards of care during a disaster for which the numbers of patients needing treatment exceeds the capacity of the healthcare resources. This triage framework will use ethical principles to assist hospitals, other healthcare institutions, as well as physicians in making treatment and triage decisions which may differ from the traditional standards of care.

Although the task force will recommend a triage framework, it will remain the decision of individual health care facilities or organizations to adopt any specific triage protocols. It is the desire of the task force to reduce any disparities between currently existing disaster triage frameworks in order for citizens of the region to be confident that the care they receive in such an emergency is consistent from institution to institution.

The task force will also seek to work with the Texas Medical Association to ask the Texas legislature to adopt specific legislation protecting physicians from legal liability when operating under an institutionally approved triage protocol in times of a declared emergency in which the demand for services outstrips supply.

Recommended Background Materials - the following are links to PDF documents, some of which are rather large. The document size is included below. You must have Adobe Reader to access these documents. If you do not have Adobe Reader, click here for the free download.

Additional Reading Materials

Local Institutional Policies

Minutes of the North Texas Mass Critical Care Task Force Meetings

Crisis Standards of Care Guidance Document

  1. NTMCC Guidelines for Adults January 2014
  2. NTMCC Guidelines for Pediatrics January 2014
  3. Appendix A
  4. Appendix B1
  5. Appendix B2
  6. Appendix C1
  7. Crisis Standards of Care Presentation
  8. Summary Description - Jan. 2014
  9. State Support Letter - September 2013
  10. NTMCC Task Force FAQs