"In the event of a catastrophic public health-or terrorism-related event, such as an influenza pandemic or the detonation of improvised nuclear devices, the resulting tens of thousands of victims will be likely to overwhelm the resources of a community's health care system. In this dire scenario, which we refer to as a mass casualty event (MCE), it will be necessary to allocate scarce resources in a manner that is different from usual circumstances but appropriate to the situation. Making optimal decisions concerning the allocation of scarce resources could make a big difference in the degree to which health care systems continue to function; ultimately it could mean saving many thousands of lives. The purpose of this guide is to provide community planners-as well as planners at the facility/community, State, and Federal levels-with valuable insights and information that will help them in their efforts to plan for and respond to an MCE. The guide aims to present planners with approaches and strategies that would enable them to provide the most appropriate standards of care possible under the circumstances of an MCE. This document is intended not to reflect Department of Health and Human Services policy but to provide State and local planners with options to consider when planning their response to an MCE."
AHRQ Publication No. 07-0001
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: http://www.ahrq.gov/