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Chronic Health Needs Must Be Addressed After A Natural Disaster

Sichuan earthquake rescue workers carrying an injured person. Sichuan earthquake rescue workers carrying an injured person. In light of the widespread media coverage of natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Japan, the public and medical professionals are aware of the anticipated immediate medical needs in these kinds of emergencies. However, it is less well known that after the initial management of life- and limb-threatening injuries, there may be an enormous need to provide care to persons with chronic illnesses. This is because they are displaced from their homes, become exposed to adverse environmental and socioeconomic hardships, lose access to healthcare, are deprived of their sources of medications, and so forth.

Some of my colleagues were allowed to enter Japan after the tsunami, and their observations agree with this assessment, which was also confirmed in a recent paper, “Chronic health needs immediately after natural disasters in middle-income countries: the case of the 2008 Sichuan, China earthquake,” authored by Emily Chan and Jackie Kim (Eur J Emerg Med 2011;18:111-114). The authors considered physical, social and public health preparedness. Read more »

This post, Chronic Health Needs Must Be Addressed After A Natural Disaster, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Challenges In Humanitarian Medical Care

An aid worker gives medicine to Haitian child in Léogâne Aid worker administers medicine to Haitian child in Léogâne.With the current wave of natural disasters and international conflicts extant in the world today, the number of people engaged in global humanitarian relief, including medicine, is growing. As a result, there have arisen special concerns for providing medical care and other types of assistance during humanitarian efforts. At the Wilderness Society summer annual meeting in 2010, Cindy Bitter, MD, led a round table discussion entitled “Challenges and Controversies in Humanitarian Medicine.” I will use materials she prepared for the syllabus to offer some observations about the general topic of humanitarian medicine, which is very often practiced in outdoor settings that are austere.

Current estimates state that, worldwide, there are more than 5,000 organizations providing humanitarian aid at a total expense of $15 billion. Medical assistance is given in many situations, including natural disasters, conflict and refugee care, provision of basic medical needs in low-resource areas, surgical missions, local resource development, and sanitation and nutrition projects. In 2009 alone, there were Read more »

This post, Challenges In Humanitarian Medical Care, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

The Psychology Of Survival

By ClinkShrink

I read this BBC story recently about the Chilean miners trapped for 17 days, who now face months of waiting underground while a rescue tunnel is dug. Although they are all physically well and expected to survive, they face the psychological challenge of waiting for rescue from the cave.

This story resonated with me because lately I’ve been hearing a lot about a new book, No Way Down, which was featured on NPR along with some other mountain disaster books. No Way Down covered the story of several teams of mountain climbers who were stranded on K2 when an icefall cut their ropes. Most of the climbers died although a few managed to pick their way back to base camp.

Survival stories have always been popular. Entire television series now feature teams of people pitted against one another to overcome some test or challenge. Disaster movies were popular back in the ’70s, when the Towering Inferno, Airport and the Poseidon Adventure let us watch people get picked off one by one.

Why do we love this stuff? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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