Global Consequences of Nuclear Disasters and Medical Management of Nuclear and Radiation Casualties

5th Imamia Medics International Conference, Najaf, Iraq, April 2012

Asaf Durakovic, Tedd Weyman

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Medical and environmental effects of potential nuclear disasters present a realistic concern to healtcare and management of mass casualites.

The proliferation of nuclear weapons and delivery systems such as strategic air force, land and naval missilies, and tactical weapons of nuclear superpowers had kept a delicate balance since WWII with the global awarness of mutually assured destruction (MAD). The growing list of the nations in the posssesion and capable of production of nuclear weapons increases the risk of the tactical regional confrontation. This concern is enhanced by the possible industrial, transportation, and clandestine disasters with the constant need of medical peparedness for the treatment of acute radiation disease, combined injury, and internal contamination with radioisotopes of fission or radioactive warfare.

Internal contamination is a result of exposure to over 40 radioisotopes of nuclear fission, medically significant due to their half life, corpuscular radiation, and organospecificity. The recent advent of the use of depleted uranium (DU) in the modern battlefield presents and indiscriminate somatic and genetic hazard of single isotope contamination in the radioactive warfare. Acute radiation syndrome (ARS) results from a total of partial body exposure to lethal consequences..