Time to get ready for the next disaster

In my editorial for the January/February issue of Medical Meetings, written just days after the tsunami hit Asia, my mind was on disaster preparedness for our healthcare workers. While we still have a way to go, it's good to see that CME providers are working hard to make sure physicians and others on the front lines of disasters know how to deal with the unique challenges and pressures.

So I was doubly glad to hear that the Society of Thoractic Surgeons is including a program called "National Disaster Life Support" in its The Society of Thoracic Surgeons 41st Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida, Mon., Jan. 24, 2005. And it sounds like they're going to do a very good job of it:

    In any kind of disaster situation, difficult decisions must be made in split seconds. Triage can become overwhelming. Communications will be critical to safety and containment. The STS program will begin to prepare cardiothoracic surgeons to implement the all-hazard approach to mass casualty incident preparedness and management. Participants will learn about the skills needed in these situations through a simulation and with dynamic audience interaction...

    Every community needs its surgeons to be prepared for the worst. Every surgeon needs to know what to do when disaster strikes. "We can't wait for disaster to strike to prepare," says Dr. Gold. "Preparation must begin now and never stop. Today, disaster preparedness has become a lifelong learning commitment."

Couldn't say it better if I tried. I wish I could have gotten him to write my editorial for me!

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