The populace’s health and well-being has often been jeopardized by tragedies that constantly strike when least expected. These disasters of severe magnitude have cost many lives with most survivors developing secondary complications majorly due to hospitals’ ill preparedness in handling emergency situations. The concern for safety and security of all individuals as well as the desire to minimize the impacts of calamities have been the driving force behind scholars and other professional interests in establishing and encouraging health care facilities to plan for emergencies. Thus, the journals by Burch, McCaughrin, Mattammal & Hixon, Fong and Parsons extensively explore the necessity and strategies for emergency planning for a variety of potential risks that may affect health care. The articles also tackle a variety of risk hazards pertaining to health care such as bioterrorism, natural calamities, fatal accidents and outbreak of highly contagious diseases.
Burch (2003) looks into health risks resulting from bioterrorism which involves the deliberate use of biological agents such as virus, bacteria and toxins to cause diseases thus resulting to ill-health or even death to humans. For instance, in the past bacteria anthrax has been used to cause smallpox that wiped out quite a number of individuals. Bioterrorism is becoming rampant in the society often common during warfare and is extremely dangerous since its occurrence is unpredictable thus the need to adequately understand the subject and for hospitals to be prepared to deal with the situation in case of an attack. In response to the risk, the journal recommends establishment of biological defense strategies like decontamination technologies as well as biological identification systems that assist in earlier identification and encourage rapid response.
Occurrence of natural calamities such as floods and earthquakes also comes with very severe consequences to victims’ health. The victims’ of such calamities tend to be susceptible to a variety of contagious diseases such as cholera. Fortunately, these calamities can be predicted thus their occurrences are often known in advance giving the healthcare department time to adequately prepare for the disaster. In such cases, McCaughrin, Mattammal, & Hixon (2003) propose an emergency plan centered on prevention and minimizing damages for instance through vaccination of certain diseases and putting in place all the health care resources needed to mitigate the situation ranging from adequate trained staff to transportation means of patients from the affected areas to the hospitals.
In addition, in incidences of fatal accidents the situation could also get out of hand if the healthcare facility is ill prepared to handle victims. Accidents occur all the time ranging from car crushes to fires in which victims sustain severe injuries requiring agent medical care and in most cases victims lose their lives due to delay in treatment especially in incidence where the victims are many. Hospitals, in response to such disasters are expected to have sufficient means of patients’ transportation like ambulances. Training of individuals to perform first aid services is also recommended as they can help save lives before the patients are transported to the hospital as explained by Fong (2003).
Parsons (2002) points out the possibility of outbreak of highly contagious diseases like smallpox probably among infants in certain areas that may require agent response in order to minimize deaths. Therefore, it is important for the health care department to identify areas at risks and develop strategies that promote earlier detection of such incidences as well as mechanism that facilitate prompt treatment of victims and constantly carry out vaccination where possible to lower the probability of their occurrence and reduces their impacts.
Burch, C. (2003). ProQuest Links Loris, S.C., hospitals prepares for disaster: Facility runs bioterrorism drill. Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2004, from ABI/INFORM Complete database. 446383731
Fong, T. (2003). Preparing for a disaster. Modern Healthcare, 33(36), 6-7. Retrieved October 29, 2004, from ABI/INFORM Complete database. 405862061
McCaughrin, W., Mattammal, M., & Hixon, A. (2003). Perfect storm: Organizational management of patient care under natural disaster conditions/Practitioner application. Journal of health information management relates to uniformity and reliability of actions or events that happen every time. Data pertaining Healthcare Management, 48(5), 295-310. Retrieved November 1, 2004, from ABI/INFORM Complete database. 0423817621.
Parsons, P. (2002). Communicating strategically in a crisis. Healthcare Executive, 17(6), 56-57. Retrieved October 25, 2004, from ABI/INFORM Complete database. 212935171