The nuclear accident at Chernobyl was the worst in the history of nuclear power. It tested the organized medical response to mass radiation casualties. This article reviews the Soviet response as reported at the 1986 postaccident review meeting in Vienna and as determined from interviews. The Soviets used three levels of care: rescue and first aid at the plant site; emergency treatment at regional hospitals; and definitive evaluation and treatment in Moscow. Diagnosis, triage, patient disposition, attendant exposure, and preventive actions are detailed. The United States would be well advised to organize its resources definitively to cope with future nonmilitary nuclear accidents.
Linnemann RE. Soviet Medical Response to the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident. JAMA. 1987;258(5):637-643. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400050079031