A Mass Casualty Terrorist Event


tags: Terrorism, First Aid,

discussion: 0 comments

By Dan Pronk

From the March 2018 issue of the APJ.

Currently, the Australian Government National Security division assesses the National Terrorism Threat Level as Probable (Australian Government, 2015). Further quoting from that reference: ‘… credible intelligence, assessed by our security agencies indicates that individuals or groups have developed both the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia’. The advice goes on to suggest that a large, coordinated attack is considered possible, and that explosives and firearms are likely weapons of choice for such an attack (ibid).

Given that we are probably going to have further terrorist attacks, and possibly on a larger scale than we’ve seen before, my question to the reader is: are we medically ready for a mass-casualty terrorist event in Australia?


Whilst on face-value, most people reading will likely think that our emergency services would cope quite well with such an incident, and I tend to agree, I would like to use a few case studies from my past to try and paint a more vivid picture of exactly what we can expect on the day, in order to get people thinking harder on the topic. Having had the rather unique opportunity to medically treat blast and high-velocity gunshot injuries at many levels of care—from point of injury, through evacuation from the field, resuscitation in the Emergency Department, and on to initial wound surgery—I hope that my opinion might add value to any dialogue on the topic, and stimulate debate about how we might better prepare for a domestic mass-casualty terrorist incident in Australia.

[NOTE: The final article contains extremely graphic images of terrorist victims]

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