Private-sector U.S. hospitals are finding out that working more closely with one another in the new Age of Terrorism, as now required by law, is not only a prudent policy but also a sound business practice as well.
In a mass-casualty incident involving the rapid spread of dangerous diseases the most effective immediate defense will be a massive vaccination program. But who will do the vaccinating? No one knows for sure.
Kill diseases by starving them to death through social distancing! That is probably the most effective and lowest-cost means of containing the spread of diseases carried in microbe-laced weapons of mass destruction.
Who, when, how, and under what circumstances - those are only a few of the questions that are asked, and must be answered, in political, legal, and sometimes even combat situations calling for a transfer of decision-making command authority.
EMS technicians and other first responders can and do work miracles each & every day. But not if they do not have the right rolling stock or medical systems or other equipment, or enough of it, or if the equipment they do have is not properly maintained.
"First come, first served" is an appealingly democratic rule to follow when selling movie tickets or scarce consumer products. The same rule could literally kill people, though, if used by the first responders at mass-casualty incidents.
Healthcare reform could be a major sleeper issue in next year's elections, and deservedly so. But reforms that make matters worse would be counterproductive. Here are some suggestions that the winning candidates might consider.
The willingness of so many citizen volunteers to serve on Community Emergency Response Teams adds an extra dimension of capability to already overworked (and sometimes overwhelmed) EMS staffs. There are a few precautions also worth noting, though.
The professional guidelines developed to help the nation's hospitals cope with a broad spectrum of emergencies have been so successful and so well-received that they have been expanded, revised, and refined to encompass non-emergency situations as well.