Navigation Links
New disaster preparedness strategy announced

In an unprecedented initiative, US and Canadian experts have developed a comprehensive framework to optimize and manage critical care resources during times of pandemic outbreaks or other mass critical care disasters. The new proposal suggests legally protecting clinicians who follow accepted protocols for the allocation of scarce resources when providing care during mass critical care events. The framework represents a major step forward to uniformly deliver sufficient critical care during catastrophes and maximize the number of victims who have access to potential life-saving interventions.

Most countries, including the United States, have insufficient critical care resources to provide timely, usual care for a surge of critically ill and injured victims, said Asha Devereaux, MD, FCCP, Task Force for Mass Critical Care. If a mass casualty critical care event occurred tomorrow, many people with clinical conditions that are survivable under usual health-care system circumstances may have to forgo life-sustaining interventions due to deficiencies in supply, staffing, or space. As a result, the Task Force for Mass Critical Care developed an emergency mass critical care (EMCC) framework for hospitals and public health authorities aimed to maximize effective critical care surge capacity.

Published as a supplement to the May issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), Definitive Care for the Critically Ill During a Disaster offers guidance for hospitals, medical professionals, and public health authorities on how to prepare for and provide essential critical care when the need for critical care resources far exceeds availability.

Expanding Critical Care Resources for a Disaster

To prepare for a mass critical care event, the task force proposes that hospitals with ICUs aim to meet several standards, including the ability to provide sufficient critical care for at least triple their usual ICU capacity and sustain this surge for up to 10 days without external assistance. Suggested surge capacity requirements include stockpiling medical equipment, including mechanical ventilators; optimizing medication; designating auxiliary critical care areas; and augmenting critical care staff.

Trigger Event and Process

Prior to the rationing of critical care resources, hospitals and surrounding areas must first experience a trigger event that includes a declared state of emergency and lack of critical equipment or infrastructure. The decision to initiate EMCC must occur in conjunction with local and regional Medical Emergency Operations Command authority and not by individual hospitals.

Critical Care Resource Allocation

The task force advises rationing scarce critical care resources only after surge capacity has been exceeded and all attempts to use outside resources have been made. Under these circumstances, the task force proposes a formal EMCC triage and resource allocation protocol. Examples of the protocol include:

  • The hospital triage officer/team will assess and prioritize all patients for receipt of scarce interventions using objective medical criteria.

  • Palliative care for all patients will be a priority. However, patients will be ineligible for scarce critical care interventions if they have extreme organ failure and/or severe chronic illness with a short life expectancy.

  • Critical care resources will not be preferentially distributed to any specific population group.

  • Decisions regarding resource allocation will be documented, remain transparent, occur uniformly across all affected regions, and subject to rigorous quality assurance.

Ideally, having an emergency mass critical care plan in place would prevent hospitals from needing to ration critical care resources, said Lewis Rubinson, MD, PhD, Task Force for Mass Critical Care. However, if the surge capacity is exceeded, the use of emergency mass critical care triage and rationing will help local health-care facilities minimize mortality and optimize survival.

Physician Liability

EMCC protocol allows the triage officer and supporting triage team to make decisions that benefit the greatest number of patients with potentially limited resources. Consequently, lifesaving care may be withheld from one patient and given to another, prompting ethical and legal implications. To reassure critical care providers and ensure consistent allocation of critical care resources, the task force advocates for legal protection of health-care professionals and institutions that follow accepted EMCC protocols while providing care during times that require critical care resource rationing. Government endorsement of a protocol for EMCC triage and resource allocation ideally would shield practitioners and institutions acting in good faith from liability.

The new EMCC framework provides a much needed foundation for disaster preparedness in the critical care setting. Suggestions proposed by the task force will facilitate ongoing discussions and allow for further input from the disaster planning community, said Alvin V. Thomas, Jr., MD, FCCP, President of the ACCP. Hospitals, communities, and government agencies must take the next steps to modify framework principles and implement them in critical care environments.

Task Force for Mass Critical Care

Spearheaded by the ACCP, the task force consists of 37 senior-level participants with broad expertise relevant to EMCC, representing military medicine, medical societies and institutions, and government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Health and Human Services. The task force also includes members of the Critical Care Collaborative (CCC), a group of medical professional societies who collectively represent more than 100,000 health-care professionals. Members of the CCC include the ACCP, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, Society of Hospital Medicine, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.


Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
American College of Chest Physicians

Related medicine news :

1. Protecting Patient Images From Damage and Disaster
2. Prescription For Disaster: One-Third of Consumers Experience Prescription Errors, New Survey Finds
3. PAHEF Discusses Neglected Diseases and Disaster Preparedness with Innovative Leaders
4. Hands on Disaster Response Extends Cyclone Relief Project
5. AT&T Tennessee Supports Local Disaster Relief Efforts
6. Presidents FY09 Budget - A Disaster for Domestic AIDS: Congress Must Fund Critical Healthcare Priorities
7. 2009 Bush budget a disaster for HIV/AIDS
8. Red Cross Partners with YeePay on China Snow Disaster Relief
9. American Journal of Disaster Medicine Accepted for Inclusion into The National Library of Medicines MEDLINE Database and may now be Accessed Through the PUBMED Website or the MEDLARS System
10. Global Experts Convene to Discuss Emotional Trauma Caused by Disasters
11. U.S. Food Safety: Foodborne Illnesses a Menu for Disaster
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... Center is one of a select few plastic surgeons in the New York ... removal. , SculpSure™ is the world’s first heat-induced laser treatment for fat loss ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... TransPack Volume ... X . Choose from scrolling web-styled transitions to wipes with blur & drop ... direction and more. Seamlessly transition from one clip to the next with TransPack's ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... their strategic partnership at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2015 ... global providers of cutting-edge dictation and speech-enabled documentation software, announced their partnership ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... In 2016, expected coding changes are likely to include new codes for spine ... not easy to understand the effects of code changes in musculoskeletal, radiology and ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... CTI Group (Holdings) Inc. (OTC:CTIG), a ... communication analytics, announced today that their Proteus® VoIP QMS solution now supports Skype ... Proteus® VoIP QMS (Quality Management System) does this by collecting the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015 NHS Supply ... 20 TrueBeam™ machines from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: ... program to replace older machines and institute modern ... UK,s public hospitals. The order, placed in September, ... licenses for Varian,s RapidArc® and Eclipse™ software systems.    ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Hanger, Inc. (NYSE: ... restatement of the terms of its previously announced consent ... to its $200,000,000 aggregate principal amount 7⅛% Senior Notes ... (i) the consent fees payable pursuant to the Consent ... Notes and (iii) the expiration date of the Consent ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Precision Image ... services, is pleased to announce a dramatic expansion ... imaging services. Building on its ISO-9001:2008 certification for ... implemented comprehensive Core Lab protocols and procedures. This ... of research activities.  Their Core Lab services include ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: