Lessons in Disaster Medicine Learned from Recent Acts of Terror
First responders serve a critical role in the immediate aftermath of disaster situations, running toward the chaos to provide life-saving care to those who need it. It is easy to take for granted that physicians trained in disaster medicine will be available to help treat patients in various conditions after an attack, but this response doesn’t happen without incredible coordination among highly trained individuals. Disaster medicine is a medical specialty that was developed relatively recently, in 1980, and the coordinated response of these highly trained physicians is the product of ongoing training. At the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we are all too familiar with how irreplaceable physicians with disaster medicine training truly are, which is why we developed the American Board of Disaster Medicine® (ABODM). In fact, we are the only national multi-specialty physician certification body to offer board certification in disaster medicine.
The recent terror attacks in France horrified the world, but if there is a modicum of a silver lining, it is the incredible work that the first responders in Paris did with their rapid response to the crisis. This was due, in part, to the tremendous work that the city of Paris has done in preparing their infrastructure for of an attack of this nature. Hospitals were prepared to treat patients who had experienced gunshot wounds and/or had been hit by shrapnel, while the physicians on duty had the advanced training to provide top flight care to their trauma patients. Field hospitals were also rapidly set up to accommodate patients in need of immediate care before it was safe to transport them to nearby medical facilities. While it is still too early to fully analyze the response to this disaster, it is evident that there was a system in place to respond to a terror attack, and the system worked. This is the core concept of disaster medicine. Physicians need to be trained to treat trauma patients, but it is equally important that a protocol is developed to try and bring order to the chaotic aftermath of an attack.
At the ABODM, our Diplomates include physicians with extensive firsthand experience and training in disaster medicine who have sufficiently demonstrated the mastery of the core concepts that define the specialty. This also entails a commitment to ongoing training in disaster medicine and an enthusiasm to work with like-minded peers in the field. In short, our physician Diplomates represent some of the most highly qualified disaster medicine specialists in the world. To learn more about becoming board certified through the ABODM, contact us today.