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October 30, 1967

The Anatomy of a Civil: Its Impact on Disaster Planning

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit.

JAMA. 1967;202(5):394-397. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03130180060009

Major civil disturbances in our cities demand modification of our traditional concepts of hospital disaster planning. Provision must be made for a state of emergency which may extend over many days during which the environs of the hospital may be unsafe. Adequate security, both inside and outside the hospital, must be provided from the start. The main lessons learned during the recent Detroit riots are (1) the need to insure safe transportation for patients and personnel to and from the hospital, especially at night; (2) the importance of a flexible duty roster to conserve the energy of the teams in the emergency room and the operating rooms; (3) the logistic problems posed by the presence within the hospital of many prisoners; and (4) the value of close liaison between the police, military, and hospital authorities.