Disasters: 1 Minute Primer
Augustine Saiz, MD and the OTA Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness Committee
Disasters, like all trauma, can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone. Repeated mass trauma headline events such as shootings, bombings, and natural disasters emphasize the need for disaster and mass casualty preparedness. In a disaster, resources are limited by definition, and therefore normal treatment paradigms cannot be applied without causing greater harm. Formal education in this field is scarce or absent in the training of orthopaedic traumatologists. This lack of knowledge by orthopedic traumatologists will impair effective response during these stressful and challenging situations.
The OTA encourages our members to become knowledgeable and involved whether at the hospital, local, state, national, and/or international levels. Below are a few useful self-learning links to get started in addition to reaching out to your local emergency response organization. The Disaster Committee will continue to provide further educational materials and opportunities for ongoing involvement.
- Triage is a critical tool in disasters to sort and prioritize the care of casualties. Expending limited resources patients with a poor prognosis may result in critical care not being provided to many other potentially salvageable patients.
- “Disaster Management Response Guidelines for Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery” JBJS Reviews 2016
- Other general disaster preparedness resources are available through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
- To sign up for your state level disaster preparedness