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CBRN and Hazmat Incidents at Major Public Events: Planning and Response by Dan Kaszeta

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CHAPTER 15

Medical Response

This chapter discusses the medical-response effort, with an emphasis on interventions in the field environment. My medical experience is all at the basic field-care level, so I am not in a position to advocate changes to existing doctrine on treatment; the various references listed in Chapter 8 provide excellent guidelines for acute care. This chapter does not prescribe specific care measures because it is about how to think about the response problem in a way that helps to manage the incident. The reader will quickly note that much of this section is devoted to chemical incidents, as they are the scenarios in which field care is most likely to be needed.

HOW WILL THE CBRN/HAZMAT PATIENT LOOK?

In the first phases of the response, the responder may not know exactly what the causative agent is, or there may be confusing or contradicting information available. Many people get hung up on this concept. However, the medic's job is to treat the patients that we are presented with. The array of potential CBRN/HAZMAT threat materials that can cause casualties is bewildering. One way to make the problem manageable is to divide the problem into simple categories. Despite the wide array of potential threats, the signs and symptoms (syndromes) observable to the field medic and the range of medical interventions available at the field level are fairly narrow. At the clinical and definitive-care level, it may be another situation altogether, but at the field level ...

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