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Preparing for the Unthinkable: The Role of Radiologists in National Disasters

February 25, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Emergency Radiology, Medical Ethics
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Radiologists will play a key role in the event of a national disaster and should adequately prepare for such scenarios, says an article recently published in Emergency Radiology. The article describes 12 possible situations, formulated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Defense after the Sept 11 attacks, and the expected response from the radiology community. Potential scenarios include:

  • nuclear detonation
  • biological aerosol attack with anthrax
  • biological disease outbreak from pandemic influenza
  • biological attack from pneumonic plague
  • chemical attack from industrial chemicals
  • chemical attack from chlorine tank explosion
  • radiation dispersion attack
  • explosive attack using improvised explosive devices

According to the article, radiologists may be called upon for everything from managing acute radiation exposure (in the event of a nuclear attack) to helping treat blast, thermal, and overcrowding injuries in the event of an explosion in, say, a crowded concert hall or sports complex.

These are findings that “every radiologist should know,” said Rahul Pawar, MD, who reviewed the article.

Read or listen to more expert reviews: Practical Reviews in Radiology

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