Author Affiliations: O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington, DC (Mr Gostin); and Inova Health System, Falls Church, Virginia, and Department of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC (Dr Hanfling).
Public health emergencies underscore the immediate and crucial need to plan for a mass disaster in which tens or even hundreds of thousands of individuals suddenly require medical care. On October 24, 2009, President Obama declared a public health emergency in response to influenza A(H1N1),1 but natural disasters (eg, hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes) and terrorism acts (eg, anthrax or a nuclear detonation) similarly demonstrate the critical need for national preparedness.2,3
Gostin LO, Hanfling D. National Preparedness for a Catastrophic EmergencyCrisis Standards of Care. JAMA. 2009;302(21):2365-2366. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1780