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Journal Article

Citation

Wetter DC, Daniell WE, Treser CD. Am. J. Public Health 2001; 91(5): 710-716.

Comment In:

Am J Public Health 2001;91(5):708-9.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2001, American Public Health Association)

DOI

unavailable

PMID

11344876

PMCID

PMC1446687

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This study examined hospital preparedness for incidents involving chemical or biological weapons. METHODS: By using a questionnaire survey of 224 hospital emergency departments in 4 northwestern states, we examined administrative plans, training, physical resources, and representative medication inventories. RESULTS: Responses were received from 186 emergency departments (83%). Fewer than 20% of respondent hospitals had plans for biological or chemical weapons incidents. About half (45%) had an indoor or outdoor decontamination unit with isolated ventilation, shower, and water containment systems, but only 12% had 1 or more self-contained breathing apparatuses or supplied air-line respirators. Only 6% had the minimum recommended physical resources for a hypothetical sarin incident. Of the hospitals providing quantitative answers about medication inventories, 64% reported sufficient ciprofloxacin or doxycycline for 50 hypothetical anthrax victims, and only 29% reported sufficient atropine for 50 hypothetical sarin victims (none had enough pralidoxime). CONCLUSIONS: Hospital emergency departments generally are not prepared in an organized fashion to treat victims of chemical or biological terrorism. The planned federal efforts to improve domestic preparedness will require substantial additional resources at the local level to be truly effective.


Language: en

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