Health and Medical Response to Active Shooter and Bombing Events

NPLI program faculty member Suzet McKinney is among the authors of a new paper on the health and medical responses to active shooter and bombing events. The list of such events is, unfortunately, growing. Fortunately so too are the efforts of first responders, medical professionals, and policy makers to understand, share, and implement best practices that save lives.

Terrorist attacks, including mass shootings and bombings, have dramatic physical and emotional impact on a community. Terrorists often use inexpensive but deadly bullets and bombs to maximize the number of casualties and the lethality of injuries compared to conventional blunt trauma. Significantly increased severity of injuries have been observed in terrorist bombing incidents compared to “conventional” casualty incidents. A recent analysis of mass shooting events noted a wounding pattern different from military experience with very few cases of life-threatening extremity hemorrhage; therefore, extrication and transfer to definitive care needs to be a priority in addition to any in-place care provided.

This important paper is part of the ongoing efforts of NPLI program faculty to enhance preparedness and response leadership for the active shooter, bombings, and other terror events. Eric Goralnick, M.D. has recently been in Paris leading a joint dialog between professionals involved in attacks in Boston, Paris, and Brussels. As those results are available, we will post them.

McKinney is Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District Commission and an Instructor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.