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Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2007 May;25(2):527-48; abstract xi.

Bringing order out of chaos: effective strategies for medical response to mass chemical exposure.

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  • 1Blue Ridge Poison Center, Division of Medical Toxicology, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0774, USA.


An accident or a deliberate terrorism attack releasing hazardous chemicals will create chaos, confusion, and seeming unpredictability that complicates the emergency response. Clinicians are challenged to urgently treat patients needing care, even before a chemical is confirmed. Emergency response planning that focuses on preparing for predictable challenges to the health care system and applies basic toxicologic principles to clinical decision-making can bring a sense of order to the chaos and provide medical care that will be best for the most victims of an incident.

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