Treating Victims of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Medical, Legal and Strategic Aspects
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The book was coordinated by Chantal Bismuth, Professor of Medicine who has acted as an advisor for the Minister of Health in France and is an international consultant in toxicology. Her co-editor, Patrick Barriot, is an anaesthetist with operational experience in the Paris Fire Brigade and the 11th division of Paratroops who is now responsible for the department of ‘Biological risks from new technologies’. The authors are representative of the doctors who would have to deal with the human casualties of warfare or a terrorist attack. They review all weapons of mass destruction, both chemical and biological, including the use of bacteria, anthrax and viruses such as variola and influenza. In each case, they describe the pathogenic agent, the human consequences, organizational aspects of care for the victims and best practice for treatment. As one author reports, “The infections caused by potential biological warfare agents are seldom taught in the course of medical studies and the majority of physicians never encounter these types of pathology in their daily professional practice. Since its eradication, people are not trained to recognize smallpox or to make the differential diagnosis between anthrax and bronchitis.” Other chapters cover the effects of nuclear weapons and radiation on humans as well as the features of Gulf War syndrome. An important chapter deals with the organization of medical responses to chemical or biological attack: “Planning, equipping, and training responder services are the best responses to the dispersion of chemical and biological agents.”
The book addresses all those involved in the security of the civilian population, the organization of rescue services and the treatment of victims.
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