In the twentieth century, rarely have mass casualty events yielded hundreds or thousands of critically ill patients requiring definitive critical care. However, future catastrophic natural disasters, epidemics or pandemics, nuclear device detonations, or large chemical exposures may change usual disaster epidemiology and require a large critical care response. This article reviews the existing state of emergency preparedness for mass critical illness and presents an analysis of limitations to support the suggestions of the Task Force on Mass Casualty Critical Care, which are presented in subsequent articles. Baseline shortages of specialized resources such as critical care staff, medical supplies, and treatment spaces are likely to limit the number of critically ill victims who can receive life-sustaining interventions. The deficiency in critical care surge capacity is exacerbated by lack of a sufficient framework to integrate critical care within the overall institutional response and coordination of critical care across local institutions and broader geographic areas.
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Capt. Dennis Amundson, MD, USN, San Diego, CA; Capt. Michael B. Anderson, RN, MHA, CNAA, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC; Robert Balk, MD, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL; Tom Baudendistel, MD, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco, CA; Ken Berkowitz, MD, VHA National Center For Ethics in Health Care, New York, NY; Michael Bourisaw, BS (Steering Committee), American College of Chest Physicians, Northbrook, IL; Dana Braner, MD, Doernbecher Children's Hospital, Portland, OR; Suzanne Burns, RN, MSN, RRT, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA; Michael D. Christian, MD, FRCPC (Steering Committee), University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA; Asha Devereaux, MD (Steering Committee), Sharp Coronado Hospital, San Diego, CA; Jeffery Dichter, MD (Steering Committee), Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque, NM; Nancy Dubler, LLB (Steering Committee), Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY; Brian Erstad, PharmD (Steering Committee), University of Arizona Medical Center, Tucson, AZ; J. Christopher Farmer, MD, Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, Rochester, MN; James Geiling, MD (Steering Committee), VA Medical Center, White River Junction, VT; Dan Hanfling, MD, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA; John Hick, MD (Steering Committee), Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN; Capt. Ann Knebel, RN, DNSc, Department of Health and Human Services, WA, DC; John Krohmer, MD, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC; Capt. Deborah Levy, PhD, MPH (Steering Committee), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; Henry Masur, MD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD; Justine Medina (Steering Committee), RN, MS, American Association of Critical Care Nursing, Aliso Viejo, CA; Nicki Pesik, MD (Steering Committee), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; Jim Pile, MD, The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH; Tia Powell, MD, New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, New York, NY; Lewis Rubinson, MD, PhD (Steering Committee), Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA; Christian Sandrock, MD, MPH, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA; Richard Serino, BS, Boston Emergency Medical Services, Boston, MA; Lewis Soloff, MD, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY; Daniel Talmor, MD, MPH, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA; Alvin Thomas Jr, MD, Howard University Hospital, Washington, DC; Richard Waldhorn, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Baltimore, MD; Mark Woodhead, MD, Guidelines Director, European Respiratory Society; Robert Wise, MD, The Joint Commission, Chicago, IL; Randy Wax, MD, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada; Kevin Yeskey, MD (Steering Committee), Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.
- Disaster medicine
- Influenza pandemic
- Mass casualty medical care
- Surge capacity