September 30, 2019

Monday 30 September, 16.00-18.00, Room Madrid

Controversies in disaster preparation for the medical professional


The joint ESICM/SCCM session discussed a topic of major importance and concern to all intensive care professionals – Controversies in disaster preparation for the medical professional.

Many of our hospitals and intensive care units are not adequately prepared for internal or external disasters, whether they are from natural causes or man-made.  The panel and audience will discuss what the role of the intensive care unit should be in these incidents, how staff can become better prepared, as well as some of the ethical challenges of disaster response.

The session was moderated by the ESICM President, Jozef Kesecioglu and SCCM President, Heather Bailey (Durham, USA). Speakers joining this session include:

  • Sharon Einav, Director, Surgical Intensive Care, Shaare Zedek Medical Centre, Jerusalem, Israel and member of the Disaster Response Steering Committee, American College of Chest Physicians;
  • Laura Evans, Associate Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine and Medical Director of Critical Care, Bellevue Hospital, New York;
  • Lewis Kaplan, Professor of Surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, and Director of Surgical ICU, Corporal Michael J Crescenz VA Medical Center, USA;
  • Luke Leenen, Professor, Division of Surgical Specialities, University Medical Centre (UMC), Utrecht, Netherlands) and part of the group re-engineering the Dutch Medical Disaster Organisation (GHOR).

The debate raised many difficult and sensitive questions, such as:

  • Are our hospital systems well prepared for natural or man-made disasters?
  • Should doctors have in-hospital care roles during disasters only or should they also be field deployed?
  • Should hospitals have a commitment to the community as a whole during a disaster?
  • Should we specifically train lay people to establish a “culture of first response competence” and the role of the healthcare facility in so doing. 
  • Should all the health care professionals be trained or should we have a special trained team in our hospitals?
  • Does the ICU even have a role in disasters?
  • Do we have a need for dedicated Major Incident Hospitals? What is the advantage of having it and how should it be organized?
  • What is the level of commitment expected of healthcare professionals under risk themselves? with a family at risk?


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