As physicians we are driven to support those in need. However, with any disaster, there are key considerations for the relief team, and the experts in disaster relief at ASA want to make sure we are careful where we donate our time and skills in a disaster situation. ASA’s Committee on Trauma and Emergency Preparedness asks that we keep the following points in mind:
Despite good intentions, showing up on site without the support of a reputable, well-organized relief group can put a medical professional’s life at risk. There is much unrest in a disaster zone, and the potential for harm is great. There are limited basic resources such as food and shelter. You want your work to make a difference. Please connect any efforts with an established group who can support you throughout the journey.
Help is needed long term. Most disasters are forgotten within weeks, and most of the work essential to helping such a desperate population will be needed for months and years to come. ASA is appreciative of our members’ tremendous philanthropic spirit. May we all use this time to reflect on all we have, and to support those in need.
Information on Radiation Exposure and Treatment:
NIH's Medline Plus page on Radiation Exposure (extensive resources found here)
Radiation Emergency Medical Management - HHS
Radiation Emergencies - CDC
For additional information on the relief in Japan, visit the Global Health Outreach webpage.