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Health Care Provider Guidance
For private physician practices and clinics there are several ways you can help after a disaster in your community. First you must make sure your regular patients can be cared for. History shows people who are injured in a disaster are most likely going to try to go to the doctor or clinic they know. After you have a plan for what to do about your regular patients, then you can think about how you can help the larger community.
Preparedness Planning for Your Practice
Certain patients require a little extra thought and preparation for care after a disaster. When you are providing care for at-risk populations, make sure they have a plan for disaster response if they have to fend for themselves. Do they have extra medical supplies, medications, oxygen? Do they know who to call if they need help? Then keep a list of your priority at-risk patients so you know who is mostly likely to need help after a disaster.
After a disaster some HIPAA regulations may be relaxed in order to locate displaced persons or to gain important health information about disaster victims.
Bioterrorism continues to be a threat to all communities in the United States. Sometimes bioterrorism attacks are announced by the perpetrators and sometimes they are not. You may be the first person to identify an unusual collection of symptoms in your patients. Many bioterrorism agents present initially with symptoms of influenza. Become familiar with the differential diagnosis for bioterrorism agents.
There are several areas in Indiana populated by a variety of refugees. Do you know the languages the refugees in your community speak? Do you know the common medical conditions of the refugees? Based on their culture, what is the likely reaction going to be after a disaster?
A widened mediastinum upon x-ray may be diagnostic of Anthrax
Pregnant women and anthrax
Botulism usually displays descending flaccid paralysis
The most likely form of plague for a terrorist to use is pneumonic plague
Naturally occurring smallpox has been eradicated but can now be manufactured in a laboratory and servicemen being deployed overseas are being vaccinated against it.
Tularemia is also known as rabbit fever and is endemic in the southwestern United States
Ricin is made from castor beans
There is no antidote for ricin