Nuclear disasters: Current plans and future directions for oncologists

Thomas E. Goffman, MD, FACP


Objective: To show that there is a significant role for oncologists in the event of a terrorist nuclear disaster. Professionals need data on current political issues regarding a nuclear attack already put in place by the administration and the military.
Design: Review of what actually occurs during a fission bomb’s explosion helps to point out what medical care will be most needed. The author contends that those trained in the oncologies could play a major part.
Setting: Modern-day America.
Patients: Potential civilian survivors.
Results: Large gaps noted in statewide disaster plans in the public domain.
Conclusion: Oncologists must get involved now in disaster planning; statewide plans are necessary throughout the nation; the public needs to know the basics of what to do in the advent of a nuclear bomb explosion.


nuclear disasters, fission bombs, civilian medical treatment, role for oncologists

Full Text:



McMichael WH: Nuclear attack? Wear stout shoes. BBC News Channel. March 29, 2004.

York’s Daily Bulletin:York rehearses role for a nuclear evacuation center. May 26, 2005: 2.

Bourestom J, Mahaffey C: Al Qaeda and mass casualty terrorism: Assessing the threat. Strategic Insights. 2003; II(10): 1-4.

California hospital incident command system. Nuclear detonation—10-kiloton improvised nuclear device. pp. 1-14. .

Dainiak N, Delli Carpini D, Bohan M, et al.: Development of a statewide hospital plan for radiologic emergencies. Int J Radiat Oncol Phys. 2006; 65(1): 16-24.

Congressional reaction to Nuclear Posture Review, 2008.Available at Accessed December 5, 2008.

McMichael WH: NorthCom chief:We are ready for WMD attack. Military News. Thrusday, March 6, 2008.

Graham B:War plans drafted to counter terror attacks in US; Domestic effort is big shift for military. The Washington Post. August 8, 2005: 1.

Dowie M: Nuclear fallout: Berkeley Team thinks beyond the unthinkable. Cover story. California Magazine. September 2005: 1-7.

Perry WJ, Carter AB, May MM:After the bomb. New York Times, Op Ed. June 12, 2007.



  • There are currently no refbacks.