The World Trade Center attack - The experiences of health care professionals and the lessons to be learned

November 12, 2001

In this month's Critical Care, health care professionals who were either directly involved in the rescue efforts of 11th September or are experts in the field of disaster response analyse the events of that day, and suggest ways in which health care systems can be better prepared for future disasters, be they natural or acts of terrorism, including bioterrorism.

Their views are recorded in a series of articles investigating the response of paramedics, local hospitals, the police, and the fire service, as well as offering new perspectives on improving disaster management plans.

David Crippen, an intensivist in Pennsylvania with vast rescue experience, analyses how we respond to disasters, comparing the devastation caused by the terrorist attack with his experience of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia. He suggests that the best approach to saving lives is to teach life-supporting first aid to the general public so that uninjured bystanders can help those worse affected.

Jeffrey Hammond and Jill Brooks, from the Robert Wood Medical School, New Jersey, investigate the prevention of psychological problems faced by disaster victims and rescuers. They surmise that, "critical incident stress debriefing", a peer-driven, therapist-guided, group therapy is essential for preventing the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is especially important, since treating PTSD after it has established is only minimally beneficial.

Ronald Simon and Sheldon Teperman, members of the Jacobi Medical Center Disaster Committee, conclude that there were weaknesses in the response of New York City to the crisis and that improved disaster management planning will undoubtedly save lives in the event of any future natural or man made disasters.

The question of preparing for future attacks is examined further by Kenneth Mattox, Professor of Surgery at the Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, who asks perhaps the most difficult question in response to the New York attacks - to what extent are health care bureaucrats able to prepare for future disasters? Answering this question requires "leaving egos and personal agendas at the front door and working for a common benefit", he warns.

These articles offer a unique insight into the reaction of the health care system to an unprecedented terrorist attack and offer in depth analysis of how disasters are managed with suggestions on how we can be better prepared.
All these articles will be published in the next issue of Critical Care (5:6) but will be available to download at:

Any articles published using the material featured in these articles should reference Critical Care, a journal published by BioMed Central.

To read further press releases from BioMed Central visit:

BioMed Central

Related PTSD Articles from Brightsurf:

'Brain fog' following COVID-19 recovery may indicate PTSD
A new report suggests that lingering ''brain fog'' and other neurological symptoms after COVID -19 recovery may be due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an effect observed in past human coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS and MERS.

PTSD may double risk of dementia
People who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are up to twice as likely to develop dementia later in life, according to a new study by UCL researchers, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

How building features impact veterans with PTSD
The built environment, where someone lives (private) or works (public), influences a person's daily life and can help, or hinder, their mental health.

Work-related PTSD in nurses
A recent Journal of Clinical Nursing analysis of published studies examined the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among nurses and identified factors associated with work-related PTSD among nurses.

PTSD and moral injury linked to pregnancy complications
Elevated symptoms of PTSD and moral injury can lead to pregnancy complications, found a Veterans Affairs study of women military veterans.

Early treatment for PTSD after a disaster has lasting effects
In 1988, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck near the northern Armenian city of Spitak.

Cyberbullying Linked to Increased Depression and PTSD
Cyberbullying had the impact of amplifying symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in young people who were inpatients at an adolescent psychiatric hospital, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Psychedelic drugs could help treat PTSD
Clinical trials suggest treatment that involves psychedelics can be more effective than psychotherapy alone.

Which is more effective for treating PTSD: Medication, or psychotherapy?
A systematic review and meta-analysis led by Jeffrey Sonis, MD, MPH, of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, finds there is insufficient evidence at present to answer that question.

Cannabis could help alleviate depression and suicidality among people with PTSD
Cannabis may be helping Canadians cope with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), new research suggests.

Read More: PTSD News and PTSD Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to