Humberto Reyes, MD
The response of medical students, young physicians, and other health professionals to the February 2010 earthquake and tsunami in Chile provides important lessons about health care delivery during disasters and about the development of professionalism. Tertiary and secondary care of victims of these disasters was possible because local and national resources were available and field hospitals provided by Chile's armed forces and foreign countries replaced damaged hospitals. However, primary care of persons living on the outskirts of towns and in small villages and coves that were destroyed and isolated by the disaster required the involvement of volunteer groups that were largely composed of students and other young members of the health professions, all of whom were motivated by solidarity, compassion, and social commitment.
This experience, similar to previous catastrophes in Chile and elsewhere, reinforces that medical and other health professional schools must instill in graduates an understanding that the privileges of being a health professional come with responsibilities to society. Beyond providing high-quality scientific and technological education, curricula in these schools should include training that enables graduates to meaningfully contribute in the setting of unexpected disasters and that nurtures a sense of responsibility to do so.
Medical students and physicians in training should understand that they have a social responsibility in addition to responsibility for individual patients.
The broad social role of the medical profession is a competence that all medical schools should develop in their students.
Young physicians can provide much-needed care during disasters.
Undergraduate curricula should adequately consider training in disaster medicine, including psychological support for the initial symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.
Undergraduate teaching should include lessons on teamwork, adult leadership, and communication abilities to integrate multiprofessional teams.
Other health professionals should also adopt these social responsibilities in their training.
The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.
Reyes H. Students' Response to Disaster: A Lesson for Health Care Professional Schools. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:658–660. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-153-10-201011160-00009
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(10):658-660.
Education and Training, Emergency Medicine.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2018 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use