[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
January 27, 1989

Selection of Casualties for Treatment After Nuclear Attack

Author Affiliations

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

JAMA. 1989;261(4):628-629. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420040172046

In the early 1980s the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) promulgated Civil Defense plans for nuclear war based on relocation of targeted populations to "host areas" where they could live until the dust settled. The plan was so poorly conceived and, indeed, so absurd as to prompt local antinuclear groups throughout the country to create satires such as a booklet published by New York City Physicians for Social Responsibility entitled A New Yorker's Guide to Civil Defense, which included reminders to bring credit cards and have your mail forwarded. These spoofs were not only comical, but very effective in convincing city and town governments to refuse to participate in FEMA planning for nuclear war.

The cover of the British Medical Association publication Selection of Casualties for Treatment after Nuclear Attack has the appearance of a similar spoof on post—nuclear war planning. It pictures the earth, as seen from space, with