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:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article ... of Toronto and the University of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring bicyclists to ... article explains that part of the reason for the controversial conclusion is that, while ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of Swiss doctors has ... it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. Click here ... the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed by EPP ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s ... , The company is offering customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment ... treatment at full price. According to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in ... (see Table 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under the age of ... 1 (HSV-1), according to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply ... Jones, is an interesting show that delves into an array of issues that are ... that could benefit from open dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ... Global Cell Surface Testing Market: Supplier ... to their offering.  --> ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ... Drug Monitoring (TDM) Market: Supplier Shares, ... Opportunities"  report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... of the "Radioimmunoassay Market by Type ... Pharmaceutical Industry, Academics, Clinical Diagnostic Labs), Application ... Forecast to 2020" report to their ... announced the addition of the "Radioimmunoassay ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: