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A call to action: attention to paediatric-specific disaster preparedness
  1. Ilana Bank1,
  2. Laurie H Plotnick2
  1. 1 Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2 Department of Pediatrics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ilana Bank, Pediatrics Emergency Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3X 3L3, Canada;{at}

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Natural and man-made disasters have been increasing worldwide. Six hundred natural disasters were documented worldwide in 2016 compared with 200 in 1980.1 The Global Terrorism Index score (which reflects the relative impact of terrorism incidents annually) increased ninefold from 2000 to 2015.2 With this increasing frequency of mass-casualty events globally, hospitals and their healthcare professionals (HCPs) must be ready to receive and manage a large influx of patients. Additionally, these institutions and front-line healthcare workers must be prepared to care for disaster victims of all ages, including the paediatric population, regardless of the hospitals’ typical intake patterns.

In order to be best prepared, many countries across the world have developed healthcare-related disaster plans. Similar to other countries, France has developed the Organisation de la Réponse du Système de Santé en Situations Sanitaires Exceptionnelles plan to guide the management of mass casualties. However, this specific plan lacks explicit guidelines with respect to the management of paediatric victims; an oversight that is commonly seen in disaster plans worldwide. Children have unique anatomical, physiological and psychological aspects that increase their risk in the case of disasters.3 Consequently, paediatric disaster victims require an assessment and treatment plan different than that for adults. Therefore, there is a need, on a global level, …

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