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Crisis State of Medical Readiness and Citizen Preparedness Importance for Radiological and Nuclear Incidents

  • Raymond E. Swienton (a1), E. Liang Liu (a1), Lindsay A. Flax (a1) and Kelly R. Klein (a1)

Abstract

Introduction:

In 2017, members of our workgroup published on the readiness for nuclear and radiological incidents among emergency medical personnel.1 Our findings, along with a review of pertinent literature, suggest that the state of medical preparedness for these incidents is in crisis. A 2018 publication addressing nuclear terrorism preparedness relegates medical preparedness to a low priority and describes it as potentially dangerous.2 The crisis status of medical preparedness for these incidents is addressed.

Aim:

To establish a prepared medical workforce and trained public for those at risk from nuclear or radiological disasters.

Methods:

This Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved survey published an article and used a relevant literature review.

Results:

Readiness for nuclear and radiological incidents is lacking in multiple areas including education, training, identifying medical needs, willingness to come to work, and perception of relative risk among medical personnel.1 Confounding this is recent prominent publication downplaying and discouraging medical preparedness for nuclear terrorism.2 The importance of a readied workforce and a prepared public is identified.

Discussion:

In 2013, we formed a multi-national workgroup focused on preparing health professionals and the public for clinical management of casualties during nuclear and radiological disasters. Modeling has demonstrated predictable casualty injury and illness patterns suggesting that early appropriate medical response will save lives. Readiness demands an educated, skillful, and willing-to-engage medical workforce. Our 2017 publication identified several areas that place medical preparedness at risk.1 A significant risk to medical preparedness may lie in prominent publications discouraging the pursuit.2 We firmly believe that medical preparedness is essential and begins with a prepared public.

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Copyright

References

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1.Dallas, CE, et al. Readiness for Radiological and Nuclear Events among Emergency Medical Personnel. Front Public Health. 2017 Aug 18;5:202.
2.Gale, RP, Armitage, JO. Are We Prepared for Nuclear Terrorism? NEJ 2018 Jun 21;378(25):24492450.

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