My opinion

By Dr. Michelangelo Bortolin , Dr. Gregory Ciottone , Dr. Tudor A Codreanu , Prof. Herman H Delooz , Dr. Steve Photiou , Dr. Cinzia Barletta , Dr. Mark Keim
Corresponding Author Dr. Michelangelo Bortolin
S.E.T. 118 Torino, Via sabaudia 164 - Italy 10095
Submitting Author Dr. Michelangelo Bortolin
Other Authors Dr. Gregory Ciottone
Harvard Medical School , - United States of America

Dr. Tudor A Codreanu
South West Health Campus, West Australia, - Australia

Prof. Herman H Delooz
Catholic University of Leuven, - Belgium

Dr. Steve Photiou
Pronto Soccorso, Ospedale Sant'Antonio, Padova, - Italy

Dr. Cinzia Barletta
Ospedale S Eugenio, Rome, - Italy

Dr. Mark Keim
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, - United States of America


Disaster Medicine

Bortolin M, Ciottone G, Codreanu TA, Delooz HH, Photiou S, Barletta C, et al. Disaster Medicine: Perspective. WebmedCentral DISASTER MEDICINE 2012;3(4):WMC003219
doi: 10.9754/journal.wmc.2012.003219

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Submitted on: 05 Apr 2012 03:25:08 PM GMT
Published on: 06 Apr 2012 02:08:08 PM GMT

My opinion

Disaster medicine, as recent events emphasize, is a specialty of growing importance in the field of medicine.  The risk of disasters continues to increase due to multiple factors. These factors include global trends such as population growth, urbanization and the globalization of industry. Furthermore, there is an ever-increasing expectation among modern populations for an assurance of safety that also extends to emergency situations, as many citizens look to the state for what has been described as the “responsibility to protect”.

The need to share scientific knowledge related to disasters is crucial and the arguments posed include a wide range of subjects:  (e.g. triage, surge capacity, ethics, preparedness and training, and standard of care). Moreover, in comparison to those challenges faced by other specialties, the empirical study of disaster medicine holds a unique set of barriers. Researchers often face significant challenges involving the most fundamental of scientific endeavors. Among these challenges are lack of accurate documentation during events, logistical difficulties in data collection, a broad lack of standardization for comparability and analysis of like events; and seeking to avoid bias or confounding factors. It is also difficult to develop large datasets for low probability, yet high impact events. Thus, in many instances, academic reports rely heavily on anecdote, lacking statistical evidence by which to guide decision-making. But, this doesn’t mean that it is not important for us to strive harder to share ideas among experts in order to improve scientific methodology and ultimately affect health outcomes.

It is therefore, important to promote an evidence-based specialty of medicine that will better serve to define the clinical practice, connect the scientific community, and encourage scrupulous debate around the modern practice of disaster medicine. 

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Competing Interests



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WebmedCentral Article: Disaster Medicine: Perspective

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