Staff shortages and an increasingly aging population are straining the ability of emergency departments to provide high-quality care. Moreover, there is a growing concern about the ability of hospitals to provide effective care during disaster events. Tools that automate patient monitoring would greatly improve efficiency, quality of care, and the volume of patients treated. Towards this goal, we have developed MEDiSN, a wireless sensor network for monitoring patients' vital signs in hospitals and disaster events. MEDiSN consists of Patient Monitors which are custom-built, patient-worn motes that sample, compress and secure medical data, and Relay Points that form a static multi-hop wireless backbone for carrying patient data. Moreover, MEDiSN includes a back-end server that persistently stores medical data and presents them to multiple GUI clients. MEDiSN's heterogeneous architecture enables it to address the compound challenge of reliably delivering large volumes of data while meeting the application's QoS requirements.