The basic health care system in a crisis situation after the use of weapons of mass destruction
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Faculty of National Security War Studies University, Warsaw, Poland
Online publication date: 2019-04-01
Publication date: 2019-06-28
Security and Defence Quarterly 2019;25(3):70–85
Weapons of mass destruction pose a threat that all health care institutions should be prepared for. Every health care centre can be an essential part of the joint system of response when a critical situation occurs. Although, since 1945, no nuclear weapon has been employed in any armed conflict, cases of both chemical and radiological weapon use have been reported. Taking into account the analysts’ opinion that the 21st century has begun a super-terrorism era (Alexander and Hoenig 2001, p. 7) and, hence, the increased interest of terrorist organisations in acquiring mass destruction weapons, it is difficult to point out the location of a possible attack. A terrorist attack with the use of weapons of mass destruction may happen in any place, both urban and rural. According to the strategy adopted in the event of a critical situation resulting from such attack, the heavily injured should be transported to hospitals located in the closest location of the incident at the proper stage of evacuation. The problem is, however, to prepare a sufficient number of places for all victims of an attack and to provide them with professional medical care. In this context, it seems justified to consider the role and capabilities of the basic (primary) health care, as the most popular element of the health care system that has the resources to operate in a critical situation, and as the institution protecting citizens’ lives and health, i.e. the national safety attributes.
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