Edmund G. Howe , MD, JD
18 July 2013
Disasters frequently create demands that outstrip available existing medical and societal resources. This may be particularly problematic for giving medical care, because disasters may destroy the infrastructures necessary to both provide patients care and keep new health problems from emerging. Disaster may, for example, not only strike care providers and hospital facilities directly; they may decimate communities’ capacities to provide food to the population and carry out critical waste disposal services. All these effects may be most important to policymakers and care providers deciding triage priorities during disasters. Referring to just these two examples, food and waste disposal services, for instance, care providers should treat first not only other care providers, who can, then, take care of others, but food preparers and waste disposal personnel, likewise, to save the most lives. These two examples are just a few among many that warrant priority for this same reason.