Doctors in France have shared the details of their medical response to the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice in The Lancet, and have urged the international medical community to also share their experiences of responding to terrorism “to better serve all of humanity”.
In 2015, 137 people were killed and 413 injured in the Paris attacks, while 87 people were killed and 458 people injured in the Nice attack in 2016. Following these events, French doctors prepared and adapted the country's emergency plans to better respond to terrorism.
The authors detail not only how the country effectively responded to the attacks, but they also discuss some shortfalls in the response and the lessons learned from these, particularly in terms of delays in identifying victims and the need to respond to the continuous flow of patients needing psychological care.
They say “there is no reason to think that terrorism will become less violent” and say emergency services must also be prepared to face very different scenarios, including attacks with chemical weapons.
Furthermore, they say, hospitals must be protected against attacks themselves. "Healthcare facilities are no longer sanctuaries but soft targets for terrorists. Professionals must be responsible for their own security.”