[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 15, 2012

A Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Inova Health System, Falls Church, Virginia (Dr Hanfling), Institute of Medicine (Dr Alevogt) and O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center (Mr Gostin), Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2012;308(7):675-676. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.8171

The Japanese tsunami, Haitian earthquake, and Gulf Coast hurricane offered stark reminders of how vulnerable organized societies are to catastrophic events. They also show how public health emergencies—whether naturally occurring (eg, a pandemic outbreak of novel influenza) or deliberate (eg, a terrorist attack using an improvised nuclear device)—will stress the health system beyond its current capacity. This will require a health and medical response that is fundamentally different from the status quo.