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Remembering September 11, 2001, and the Implications for Physician Disaster Preparedness

G. Richard Holt, MD, MSE, MPH, MABE
Volume: 104 Issue: 9 September, 2011

Abstract:

Who of us does not remember where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001? As with the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, the attack on the twin towers and the Pentagon, and the deliberate crashing of the plane in Pennsylvania on September 11 has become our second "Day of Infamy." Although the role of physicians and other upper-level healthcare providers was limited on that day, the resultant "war on terrorism" has involved our healthcare profession to a great extent. What have we learned over the past 10 years and how much better prepared are we as a profession to respond to the medical and ethical challenges inherent in terrorist attacks and other severe disasters?

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References:

1. Holt GR. Making difficult ethical decisions in patient care during natural disasters and other mass casualty events. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2008;139:181-186.
 
2. Clark CC. In harm's way: AMA physicians and the duty to treat. J Med Phil 2005;30:65-87.
 
3. AMA Principles of Medical Ethics. Revised June 2001. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/principles-medical-ethics.page. Accessed May 31, 2011.
 
4. Opinion 9.067: physician obligation in disaster preparedness and response. AMA Code of Medical Ethics. December 2004. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/opinion9067.page. Accessed May 31, 2011.
 
5. Alexander GC, Wynia MK. Ready and willing? Physicians sense of preparedness for bioterrorism. Health Aff 2003;22:189-197.

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