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Socio-cultural Considerations in Mass Decontamination

First few Article Sentences

It is an unfortunate reality of our era that health systems will have to deal with the stresses of patient decontamination. Whether the result of terrorism or the byproducts of industrialized society, the potential for radiological, chemical, and biological contamination is all around us. Hospitals must be prepared to deal with the operational and safety issues posed by decontamination, an issue that has been largely addressed through the allocation of government funding towards the development of guidance, training, and equipment purchasing throughout California. However, one of the most complicated aspects of decontamination operations is crowd control and one of the best ways to maintain crowd control is to take a “community-care” approach.

How does this community-care concept differ from how first responders and health systems currently deal with decontamination? It’s primarily a matter of objectives. First responders have public safety as an objective – making sure the contaminated victims have the best chance at survival while containing the danger posed to the public. Hospitals similarly have the safety of their staff and patients as their primary objective. While critical, this may prove counter-productive if not balanced with consideration for the contaminated victims. Community-care is realizing that some steps mitigate harm while other steps do more harm than good.

Stacy, Jeremy


Good Samaritan Hospital

Mass Decontamination

November 7, 2011

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