Lessons from Recent Disasters and the Development of Disaster Medical Assistance Teams in Taiwan

In: Science

Submitted By Seki
Words 1258
Pages 6
Taiwan experienced a lot of disasters in recent several years, including a huge earthquake in 1999, air-crash in 1998 and 2001, and many typhoons and floods every year and SARS in 2003. These incidents created demands that challenged our medical infrastructures. The emergency medical preparedness programs evolved a lot in response to medical surge in these disasters.
In our system, several characteristics should be clarified in the beginning:
1. In our multiple casualty incident plans require to send hospital doctors to the incidents immediately to save lives, disregarding what they can do or if the scene is under control. The emergency medical services system of Taiwan was established in 1995, and the fire fighters were trained to be emergency medical technicians (EMT) to provide pre-hospital medical care, people still believe that physicians at the scene can provide better medical care than the fire fighters/EMT. An experienced physician at the rescue scene may do a better job in triage and arranging definite medical care site, but not every hospital physician has street sense and proficiency in trauma care skills. When the personnel in emergency room of a smaller hospital were deployed to the scene, it jeopardized the capacity of hospitals for receiving patients.
2. The plans tend to call back all the personnel immediately. The first step of a response plan of an organization is usually to call back all the off duty personnel by all means. This procedure is self-depicted because it guarantee there will be adequate human resources for the following several hours. It may sometimes prematurely deplete the resources, for example the manpower for the next shift if the emergency extends for a while. The time curve of casualty numbers found and treated in Chi-Chi earthquake in 1999 revealed the bottleneck of on-site medical care occurred around 24 hours after the…...

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