Preparing hospitals for toxicological mass casualties events

Ilan Tur-Kaspa*, Eli I. Lev, Israel Hendler, Ran Siebner, Yaron Shapira, Joshua Shemer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: For most hospital staffs, treatment of chemical casualties presents an obscure and even frightening situation. We report our unique experience from hospital drills in order to improve hospital preparedness for patient management under mass casualty conditions involving hazardous chemicals. Setting: Twenty-one major hospitals in Israel. Interventions: A unique hospital deployment plan for the management of chemical casualties was developed, and hospitals were required to have a full chemical practice drill every 3 to 5 yrs. These drills were designed as realistically as possible, and all included the use of personal protective equipment, decontamination, and treatment of simulated patients. Twenty-five percent of these patients, simulating children and adults, required intensive care and ventilation support. Hospitals were inspected and reviewed on the quality of treatment given and the overall continuity of care as well as on their administrative performance. Results: Between 1986 to 1994, 30 full chemical practice drills were conducted in 21 major hospitals. Each drill included treatment of 100 to 400 simulated patients. The lessons from the hospital drills are described and were incorporated in the proposed revised hospital deployment plan. All hospitals significantly improved their ability to respond appropriately to these incidents. Conclusions: The level of preparedness for a chemical mass casualty scenario should be established according to the existing threat and the available resources. The proposed plan can serve as a basis for hospital planning and staff training worldwide, thus facilitating optimal care in the event of an incident involving toxic chemicals. A cost-effective scale for hospital preparation levels according to the existing threat is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1004-1008
Number of pages5
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999


  • Chemical incident
  • Decontamination
  • Disaster medicine
  • Hazardous materials (HAZMAT)
  • Hospital
  • Organophosphates
  • Planning
  • Staff training


Dive into the research topics of 'Preparing hospitals for toxicological mass casualties events'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this