[ RadSafe ] Online Resource To Help Medical Responders During Radiation Emergencies
loc at icx.net
Tue Oct 2 17:09:03 CDT 2007
Online Resource To Help Medical Responders During Radiation Emergencies
30 Sep 2007
Six years ago today, the terrorist attacks on America triggered a
mobilization of national defense, preparedness, and resources that has
no historical blueprint to follow. Plans to counter one of the most
menacing threats - radiation contamination by nuclear explosion, "dirty"
bomb, or some other device - have been developed with the help of NCI
experts in radiation medicine.
The medical community around the globe has learned a great deal about
how best to respond when people are exposed to radiation, based on
decades of clinical experience with mass casualty radiation events: the
atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear reactor
accidents such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and accidental
exposures during the transport of radioactive material.
The dilemma is that such knowledge resides primarily among experts and
specialists, of which there are a limited number, and these experts may
be especially scarce if the emergency were catastrophic and widespread.
Also, the rarity of such an event means that up-to-date information is
the optimal solution for health care providers.
This potential disconnect is addressed by Radiation Event Medical
Management (REMM) <http://www.remm.nlm.gov/>, a new Web site developed
by planners, physicians, radiation specialists, and other subject matter
experts working with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for
Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS) in collaboration with the National Library of
Medicine (NLM). The Web site was originally conceptualized by experts
from NCI, ASPR, and NLM and the unique system was created by Dr. Judith
Bader of NCI and a team from NLM (led by Florence Chang and colleagues).
Several of the key personnel on this project are on detail from NCI,
including team leader Dr. Norman Coleman of NCI's Radiation Research
Program in the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis
"REMM was established to provide just-in-time information and guidance
on diagnosis and treatment to health care providers - primarily
physicians - who do not have formal radiation medicine expertise,"
explains Dr. Coleman.
He emphasizes that REMM is just one piece of the large government
network being assembled by HHS and the Department of Homeland Security.
Dr. Coleman and the REMM team are part of the Office of Preparedness and
Emergency Operations (OPEO). Rear Admiral W. Craig Vanderwagen is the
assistant secretary for preparedness and response; the OPEO team is led
by Drs. Kevin Yeskey and Ann Knebel. In OPEO, they plan for the
unthinkable regarding chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear
events and scenarios, as well as planning for natural disasters.
Part of REMM's solution to this challenge is a series of decision-tree
algorithms for the nonexpert physician to follow at the scene. Because
access to the Internet may be compromised during an emergency, the core
of REMM also comes in the form of a diagnostic and treatment toolkit
that can be downloaded in advance and stored on a local computer or
For REMM, the expert NLM content team gathered guidelines, protocols,
procedures, and background from scores of sources, inside and outside of
the federal government, and from scientific sources abroad. The initial
Web site was reviewed by some 50 subject specialists from around the
world and continues to be enhanced.
Written by: Addison Greenwood
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