Physicians have an ethical obligation to prepare themselves to respond to natural disasters in their communities, writes the editor-in-chief of the Southern Medical Journal in a special issue dedicated to disaster preparedness.

Surveys suggest that while most U.S. physicians are willing to play a role in responding to natural and manmade disasters, but most do not feel adequately prepared to fulfill that role. The January Southern Medical Journal, the official journal of the Southern Medical Association, offers a special issue on disaster medicine and physician preparedness. The special issue includes 22 reviews and original papers on preparing for the medical response to disasters and catastrophic events.

“I take the position that it is a professional and an ethical responsibility to potential patients and society for physicians to engage in sufficient self-learning that would provide them with at least an acceptable level of clinical preparation to meet the demands of caring for victims of a disaster in their town, city, county or state,” said SMJ Editor-in-Chief Dr. G. Richard Holt.

Surveys Find Physicians Don’t Feel Prepared to Respond to Disasters
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