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Over the last 20 years disasters have increasingly involved children, and pediatric disaster medicine research is growing. However, this research is largely reactive, has not been categorized in terms of the disaster cycle, and the quality of the research is variable. To understand the gaps in current literature and highlight areas for future research, we conducted a scoping review of pediatric disaster medicine literature. This work will help create recommendations for future pediatric disaster medicine research.
Using a published framework for scoping reviews, we worked with a medical librarian and a multi-institutional team to define the research question, develop eligibility criteria, and to identify a search strategy. We conducted a comprehensive Medline search from 2001-2022, which was distributed to nine reviewers. Each article was independently screened for inclusion by two reviewers. Discrepancies were resolved by a third reviewer.
Inclusion criteria included articles published in English, related to all stages of the disaster cycle, and disaster education, focused on or included pediatric populations; published in academic, peer-reviewed journals, and policies from professional societies.
967 pediatric disaster medicine articles were imported for screening and 35 duplicates were removed. 932 articles were screened for relevance and 109 were excluded. In 2000, three articles met inclusion criteria and 66 in 2021. We noticed reactive spikes in the number of articles after major disasters. Most articles focused on preparedness and response, with only a few articles on recovery, mitigation, and prevention. Methodology used for most studies was either qualitative or retrospective. Most were single site studies and there were < 10 meta-analyses over the 20 years.
This scoping review describes the trends in and quality of existing pediatric disaster medicine literature. By identifying the gaps in this body of literature, we can better prioritize future research.
Mass vaccination campaigns have been used effectively to limit the impact of communicable disease on public health. However, the scale of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign is unprecedented. Mass vaccination sites consolidate resources and experience into a single entity and are essential to achieving community (“herd”) immunity rapidly, efficiently, and equitably. Health care systems, local and regional public health entities, emergency medical services, and private organizations can rapidly come together to solve problems and achieve success. As medical directors at several mass vaccination sites across the United States, we describe key mass vaccination site concepts, including site selection, operational models, patient flow, inventory management, staffing, technology, reporting, medical oversight, communication, and equity. Lessons learned from experience operating a diverse group of mass vaccination sites will help inform not only sites operating during the current pandemic, but also may serve as a blueprint for future outbreaks of highly infectious communicable disease.
Disasters have many deleterious effects and are becoming more frequent. From a health-care perspective, disasters may cause periods of stress for hospitals and health-care systems. Telemedicine is a rapidly growing technology that has been used to improve access to health-care during disasters. Telemedicine applied in disasters is referred to as disaster telemedicine. Our objective was to conduct a scoping literature review on current use of disaster telemedicine to develop recommendations addressing the most common barriers to implementation of a telemedicine system for regional disaster health response in the United States. Publications on telemedicine in disasters were collected from online databases. This included both publications in English and those translated into English. Predesigned inclusion/exclusion criteria and a PRISMA flow diagram were applied. The PRISMA flow diagram was used on the basis that it would help streamline the available literature. Literature that met the criteria was scored by 2 reviewers who rated relevance to commonly identified disaster telemedicine implementation barriers, as well as how disaster telemedicine systems were implemented. We also identified other frequently mentioned themes and briefly summarized recommendations for those topics. Literature scoring resulted in the following topics: telemedicine usage (42 publications), system design and operating models (43 publications), as well as difficulties with credentialing (5 publications), licensure (6 publications), liability (4 publications), reimbursement (5 publications), and technology (24 publications). Recommendations from each category were qualitatively summarized.
Chemical weapons attacks during the recent conflict in Syria and Iraq highlight the need to better understand the changing epidemiology of chemical weapons use, especially among non-state actors. Public health professionals and policy-makers require this data to prioritize funding, training, chemical weapons preparedness, disaster response, and recovery. The purpose of this investigation is to provide descriptive data that can be used by policy-makers and public safety officials to better prepare for these potential attacks.
A five-decade descriptive retrospective review of The Global Terrorism Database, maintained by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, was conducted to understand trends in chemical agents, targets, and routes of exposure. We reviewed and analyzed data specific to these documented chemical attacks between 1970 and 2017.
383 terror attacks involved chemical weapons over the study period. A specific agent was named in 154 incidents, while 124 incidents could be classified into traditional chemical weapons categories (eg, vesicant, choking agents). A route of exposure was identified in 242 attacks, with the most common routes of exposure being dermal-mucosal and inhalational. Caustic agents were used in the highest portion of attacks (25%) where the route of exposure was known. Explosive devices were used in 21% of attacks to deliver these chemical agents. Of particular note, private citizens and educational facilities were targeted in 25% and 12% of attacks, respectively. The average number of attacks increased from 6 per year between 1970 and 2011 to 24.9 per year between 2011 and 2017 (coinciding with the start of the Syria conflict). The most commonly utilized chemicals were chlorine (26.0%), tear gas (20.8%), and cyanide (15.6%). Blood agent incidents declined from 32.6% before the September 11, 2001 attacks to 13.6% after 2001, while nerve agent attacks fell from 9.3% to 1.2%. In contrast, choking (namely chlorine) and vesicant (mustard) agent use increased from 7% to 48.1% and from 2.3% to 6.2% of attacks, respectively.
Chemical weapon use in global terrorism remains an increasingly common occurrence that requires better characterization. The average number of chemical terrorist attacks per year is increasing, with a large proportion resulting from the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Choking (chlorine) and vesicant (mustard) agents have become the predominant chemical terror agent since 2001, with a decreased incidence of blood (cyanogenic) and nerve (sarin) agents. Future preparedness initiatives should focus on vulnerable targets such as private citizens and educational institutions. Improving blast injury response is essential, along with prioritizing disaster training focused on choking agents, vesicants, and caustics.
The aim of this study was to determine the involvement of emergency medicine physicians at academic medical centers across the United States as well as their background training, roles in the hospital, and compensation if applicable for time dedicated to preparedness.
A structured survey was delivered by means of email to 109 Chairs of Emergency Medicine across the United States at academic medical centers. Unique email links were provided to track response rate and entered into REDCap database. Descriptive statistics were obtained, including roles in emergency preparedness, training, and compensation.
Forty-four of the 109 participants responded, resulting in a response rate of 40.4%. The majority held an administrative role in emergency preparedness. Formal training for the position (participants could select more than 1) included various avenues of education such as emergency medical services fellowship or in-person or online courses. Of the participants, most (93.18%) strongly agreed that it was important to have a physician with expertise in disaster medicine assisting with preparedness.
The majority of responding academic medical center participants have taken an active role in hospital emergency preparedness. Education for the roles varied though, often consisted of courses from emergency management agencies. Volunteering their time for compensation was noted by 27.5%.
Disaster Medicine (DM) education for Emergency Medicine (EM) residents is highly variable due to time constraints, competing priorities, and program expertise. The investigators’ aim was to define and prioritize DM core competencies for EM residency programs through consensus opinion of experts and EM professional organization representatives.
Investigators utilized a modified Delphi methodology to generate a recommended, prioritized core curriculum of 40 DM educational topics for EM residencies.
The DM topics recommended and outlined for inclusion in EM residency training included: patient triage in disasters, surge capacity, introduction to disaster nomenclature, blast injuries, hospital disaster mitigation, preparedness, planning and response, hospital response to chemical mass-casualty incident (MCI), decontamination indications and issues, trauma MCI, disaster exercises and training, biological agents, personal protective equipment, and hospital response to radiation MCI.
This expert-consensus-driven, prioritized ranking of DM topics may serve as the core curriculum for US EM residency programs.
The Society of Academic Emergency Medicine Disaster Medicine Interest Group, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response – Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (ASPR TRACIE) team, and the National Institutes of Health Library searched disaster medicine peer-reviewed and gray literature to identify, review, and disseminate the most important new research in this field for academics and practitioners.
MEDLINE/PubMed and Scopus databases were searched with key words. Additional gray literature and focused hand search were performed. A Level I review of titles and abstracts with inclusion criteria of disaster medicine, health care system, and disaster type concepts was performed. Eight reviewers performed Level II full-text review and formal scoring for overall quality, impact, clarity, and importance, with scoring ranging from 0 to 20. Reviewers summarized and critiqued articles scoring 16.5 and above.
Articles totaling 1176 were identified, and 347 were screened in a Level II review. Of these, 193 (56%) were Original Research, 117 (34%) Case Report or other, and 37 (11%) were Review/Meta-Analysis. The average final score after a Level II review was 11.34. Eighteen articles scored 16.5 or higher. Of the 18 articles, 9 (50%) were Case Report or other, 7 (39%) were Original Research, and 2 (11%) were Review/Meta-Analysis.
This first review highlighted the breadth of disaster medicine, including emerging infectious disease outbreaks, terror attacks, and natural disasters. We hope this review becomes an annual source of actionable, pertinent literature for the emerging field of disaster medicine.
Uncontrolled bleeding is a leading cause of preventable death in trauma. The “Stop the Bleed” campaign has trained over 130,000 lay people in the US to act to control bleeding. Current hemorrhage control courses, the most well-known being the American College of Surgeon’s Basic Bleeding Control (ACS B-con) course, require in-person training. Scaling this course nationwide is time and resource intensive. Furthermore, groups have advocated that young people, who are disproportionately affected by physical trauma, be universally trained in hemorrhage control.
Compare the effectiveness of teaching the ACS B-con course to high school (HS) students utilizing three different delivery mechanisms: in-person live, video-recorded, and virtual-live training.
432 students (aged 15-18) will be recruited from two HS settings: 300 from a local HS and 132 from a national online HS platform. Local HS students will be randomized into two arms: a control arm (in-person live training) and virtual training through a pre-recorded lecture. Online HS students will undergo virtual-live training. The primary outcome is correct tourniquet application following training. Secondary outcomes are the acquisition of personal resilience-associated traits using a validated instrument, motivation for further training, and perception of the importance of live training. Tourniquet application data will be assessed using a non-inferiority design using two pairwise comparisons of the intervention arms to the control (in-person). Pre- to post-training survey data will be assessed using paired univariates tests. Sub-analysis of the impact of demographic variables on these relationships will be assessed.
In addition to integration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation courses into HS curricula, there is momentum to develop effective programs to educate HS students to provide care for the injured and control bleeding before first responders arrive. This trial will help determine the most effective delivery mechanism to teach a hemorrhage control course to HS students at scale.
Mass gathering events can substantially impact public safety. Analyzing patient presentation and transport rates at various mass gathering events can help inform staffing models and improve preparedness.
A retrospective review of all patients seeking medical attention across a variety of event types at a single venue with a capacity of 68,756 from January 2010 through September 2015.
We examined 232 events with a total of 8,260,349 attendees generating 8157 medical contacts. Rates were 10 presentations and 1.6 transports per 10,000 attendees with a non-significant trend towards increased rates in postseason National Football League games. Concerts had significantly higher rates of presentation and transport than all other event types. Presenting concern varied significantly by event type and gender, and transport rate increased predictably with age. For cold weather events, transport rates increased at colder temperatures. Overall, on-site physicians did not impact rates.
At a single venue hosting a variety of events across a 6-year period, we demonstrated significant variations in presentation and transport rates. Weather, gender, event type, and age all play important roles. Our analysis, while representative only of our specific venue, may be useful in developing response plans and staffing models for similar mass gathering venues. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:752-758).
Although hospital emergency preparedness efforts have been recognized as important, there has been growing pressure on cost containment, as well as consolidation within the US health care system. There is little data looking at what health care emergency preparedness functions have been, could be, or should be centrally coordinated at a system level.
We developed a questionnaire for academic health systems and asked about program funding, resources provided, governance, and activities. The questionnaire also queried managers’ opinions regarding the appropriate role for the system-level resources in emergency response, as well as about what is most helpful at the system-level supporting preparedness.
Fifty-two of 97 systems (54%) responded. The most frequently occurring system-wide activities included: creating trainings or exercise templates (75%), promoting preparedness for employees in the system (75%), providing access to specific subject matter experts (73%), and developing specific plans for individual member entities within their system (73%). The top resources provided included a common mass notification system (71%), arranging for centralized contracts for goods and services (71%), and providing subject matter expertise (69%).
Currently, there is wide variation in the resources, capabilities, and programs used to support and coordinate system-level emergency preparedness among academic health systems. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:574–577)
On April 15, 2013, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) exploded at the Boston Marathon and 264 patients were treated at 26 hospitals in the aftermath. Despite the extent of injuries sustained by victims, there was no subsequent mortality for those treated in hospitals. Leadership decisions and actions in major trauma centers were a critical factor in this response.
The objective of this investigation was to describe and characterize organizational dynamics and leadership themes immediately after the bombings by utilizing a novel structured sequential qualitative approach consisting of a focus group followed by subsequent detailed interviews and combined expert analysis.
Across physician leaders representing 7 hospitals, several leadership and management themes emerged from our analysis: communications and volunteer surges, flexibility, the challenge of technology, and command versus collaboration.
Disasters provide a distinctive context in which to study the robustness and resilience of response systems. Therefore, in the aftermath of a large-scale crisis, every effort should be invested in forming a coalition and collecting critical lessons so they can be shared and incorporated into best practices and preparations. Novel communication strategies, flexible leadership structures, and improved information systems will be necessary to reduce morbidity and mortality during future events. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:489–495)
Patients with suspected public health threats, such as Ebola, must be quickly identified and isolated on presentation to health care facilities. Patients can be screened by intake staff or other health care providers; however, perfect compliance is difficult to achieve. Well-designed, carefully placed clinical decision support (CDS) within the electronic health record can be a reliable partner in helping to rapidly identify, isolate, and care for patients with suspected Ebola infection and other emerging public health threats. We describe how different types of CDS can be applied in the clinical workflow and share how we implemented CDS to force Ebola screening upon patient presentation to our emergency department. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:591–594)
The current Ebola outbreak is the worst global public health emergency of our generation, and our global health care community must and will rise to serve those affected. Aid organizations participating in the Ebola response must carefully plan to carry out their responsibility to ensure the health, safety, and security of their responders. At the same time, individual health care workers and their employers must evaluate the ability of an aid organization to protect its workers in the complex environment of this unheralded Ebola outbreak. We present a minimum set of operational standards developed by a consortium of Boston-based hospitals that a professional organization should have in place to ensure the health, safety, and security of its staff in response to the Ebola virus disease outbreak. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;0:1-2)