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In 2022, the Harvard/Beth Israel Deaconess Disaster Medicine Fellowship conducted a full-scale exercise (FSX) with the dual mission of 1) training Disaster Medicine Fellows (DMFs) in exercise design, planning, and execution, and 2) expanding local first responder experience with pediatric casualties in a mixed-method terrorist attack.
Project PUNCH (Preparedness for Uncertain and Novel Chemical Hazards) was planned in two stages. A tabletop exercise in the form of a facilitated discussion was conducted in March 2022 with stakeholders from Fire, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and the Massachusetts HazMat Team. A FSX simulating a combined blast and chemical attack on a family gathering was held in June 2022 at Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA.
Fire, EMS, HazMat, LifeFlight, local Police, MA State Police, a local Medical Reserve Corps, and over 40 volunteer victims including 16 pediatric volunteers participated in the FSX. The FSX was a two-hour exercise with a simulated explosion and a secondary drone-deployed dummy-opioid aerosol release. This was the first FSX for the Paxton Region since the coronavirus pandemic began. Planning was conducted by the DMFs between January and June 2022 with the aid of Fellowship faculty and local stakeholders following Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program guidelines. Local and Fellowship leadership with Pediatric expertise were engaged to plan pediatric specific considerations, precautions and safety measures. COVID precaution guidelines were followed. These efforts are detailed in the forthcoming field report. Educational guides for toxidromes and triage and resuscitation of pediatric victims were distributed to first responders.
The end outcome was a FSX that trained DMFs in exercise design, planning, and execution, and increased experience of local first responders with the concepts of asymmetric terrorist attacks and comfort with pediatric disaster victims. Multi-agency disaster drills remain an important training tool for preparedness and response to mass casualty events.
Despite the increasing risks and complexity of disasters, education for Malaysian health care providers in this domain is limited. This study aims to assess scholarly publications by Malaysian scholars on Disaster Medicine (DM)-related topics.
An electronic search of five selected journals from 1991 through 2021 utilizing multiple keywords relevant to DM was conducted for review and analysis.
A total of 154 articles were included for analysis. The mean number of publications per year from 1991 through 2021 was 5.1 publications. Short reports were the most common research type (53.2%), followed by original research (32.4%) and case reports (12.3%). Mean citations among the included articles were 12.4 citations. Most author collaborations were within the same agency or institution, and there was no correlation between the type of collaboration and the number of citations (P = .942). While a few clusters of scholars could build a strong network across institutions, most research currently conducted in DM was within small, isolated clusters.
Disaster Medicine in Malaysia is a growing medical subspecialty with a significant recent surge in research activity, likely due to the SARS-CoV-2/coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. Since most publications in DM have been on infectious diseases, the need to expand DM-related research on other topics is essential.
The recent United States (US) troop withdrawal out of Afghanistan under a February 2020 US-Taliban agreement and the rapid concurrent collapse of the Afghan military, followed by the ascendance of the Taliban, has placed an international spotlight around the future of South Asian countries. Security threats, in particular, will likely escalate within the region and beyond, with significant concerns around the resurgence of terrorism and violence in the region. This study aims to provide an epidemiological description of all terrorism-related attacks in South Asia sustained from 1970 – 2019. These data will be useful in the development of education programs in Counter-Terrorism Medicine and provide an insight into potential attacks in the future.
Data collection was performed using a retrospective database search through the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). The GTD was searched using the internal database search functions for all events which occurred in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka (collectively referred to as South Asia) from January 1, 1970 - December 31, 2019. Primary weapon type, primary target type, country where the incident occurred, and number of deaths and injuries were collated and exported for analysis.
In total, 23.69% of all terrorist attacks from 1970-2019 occurred in the South Asia region, causing 96,092 deaths and 141,333 non-fatal injuries. Of those, 50.1% of attacks in South Asia used explosives, 31.9% used firearms, 9.4% used unknown weapons, 5.9% used incendiary attacks, 2.3% were melee attacks, and <0.5% used chemical, biological, and other weapon types.
Over 88% of the attacks occurred in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India combined. While there has been a decline in attacks since a peak in 2014, there are concerns of a significant increase in terrorism activity in recent months which could impact an already fragmented health care system. The use of explosives and firearms as attack modalities accounted for 82.0 % of all weapon types used, but the impact of terrorism and conflict expands beyond simple death and casualty tolls.
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