The Role of the Plastic Surgeon in Disaster Relief

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Summary:Awareness of large-scale disasters among members of the medical community and the public at large has been heightened by recent events such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing incident, the 2001 World Trade Center attack, and the 2005 London Underground bombings. Experience with these events has highlighted the critical role of surgical specialists, including plastic surgeons. As part of their residency, plastic surgeons are trained in acute trauma management. In addition, they also are required to demonstrate expertise in the assessment and treatment of soft-tissue injuries, upper extremity trauma, facial fractures, and both operative and nonoperative burn management. Accordingly, the plastic surgeon is among the most qualified of physicians to provide specialized injury care, especially in the disaster medicine setting. In turn, training programs should include key elements of incident command and catastrophe relief.

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