Physicians feel unprepared to face bioterror event

Surveys indicate that most U.S. physicians are willing to respond to manmade and natural disasters but do not feel adequately prepared to play that role.

G. Richard Holt, the editor in chief of the Southern Medical Journal, said that the 22 reviews and original papers in the journal's special January issue could provide important self-learning for physicians in disaster preparation, Medical News Today reports.

"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," Holt said, according to Medical News Today.

The issue includes sections on physician preparedness, healthcare system preparedness, patient care preparedness, emergency training preparedness curriculum, self-sufficiency planning and insights into challenges that face older adults during disaster situations.

Harold Timboe, a leading expert in disaster preparedness and medical response, provided authoritative commentary for the special issue, Medical News Today reports.

"Each of us in our own specialty, subcomponent of our local health system, and building to the aggregate capabilities at the community, regional, state, and national levels contribute to a growing sense of confidence in our overall preparedness," Timboe said, according to Medical News Today. "We hope this duty never calls, but if it does, we will demonstrate our readiness - the moral ethics of our profession, duty to the public good, and commitment to serve others require our utmost diligence."