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New disaster preparedness strategy announced
Date:5/4/2008

ever, 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 mo
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Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
jstawarz@chestnet.org
847-498-8306
American College of Chest Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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