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Commentary
December 2, 2009

National Preparedness for a Catastrophic EmergencyCrisis Standards of Care

Author Affiliations

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).

JAMA. 2009;302(21):2365-2366. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1780

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

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