Technical Rescue

Medical Aspects of Urban Search and Rescue

Issue 11 and Volume 148.

Medical Aspects of Urban Search and Rescue BY JOSEPH A. BARBERA, M.D., FACEP; CRAIG DeATLEY, PA-C, EMT-P; ANTHONY G. MACINTYRE, M.D.; and DEWEY H. PERKS, EMT-P The Oklahoma City bombing triggered the largest organized federal urban search and rescue effort in U.S. history. While small scale in terms of the size of the typical federally declared disaster site (the area was measured in city blocks), the medical aspects of this response illustrate the many common medical issues that arise in acute disaster events. Victims of this type of structure-collapse entrapment often have been found to be critically injured with unusual medical problems such as crush injuries and airway dust impaction.1,2 If extrication is not properly performed, it can markedly accelerate the pathologic processes in these entities and may cause rapid deterioration and death in a seemingly stable patient who had survived days of entrapment. These medical problems very often respond…

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