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August 7, 1987

Medical Preparedness: Chernobyl as a Model for Southeastern Michigan

Author Affiliations

Detroit Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility

Detroit Chapter Physicians for Social Responsibility

JAMA. 1987;258(5):609. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400050051012

To the Editor.—  The Detroit Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility developed a project to evaluate the potential response of the local medical community to a small nuclear disaster involving radiation injuries. Our model was patterned after the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of April 26, 1986. We surveyed the potential response to a hypothetical disaster at the Enrico Fermi II nuclear reactor located south of Detroit.

Study.—  To assess the knowledge of the Detroit medical community, a questionnaire was sent to all hospital emergency departments. Twenty questionnaires were returned from 49 hospitals, representing institutions with a total of 6239 beds and ranging in size from 104 to 927 beds. The average number of correct responses was 49%. More than three fourths of the respondents were able to answer questions correctly about radiation injury that were also applicable to another type of burn or chemical injury, eg, "Is the erythema