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Health Services Study: An Assessment of Health Services Sought by and Rendered to Non-Event Persons Following a Mass Casualty Event


To assess the differences in access to medical services in a community following a mass casualty event for patients seeking medical care unrelated to the event.

Who would use the data?

Medical and public health professionals, and other community policy makers and planners who must prepare for future mass casualty events.


  • Johnston, SC, Sorel ME, Sidney S. Effects of the September 11th attacks on urgent and emergent medical evaluations in a Northern California managed care plan. American Journal of Medicine 2002; 113(7):556-62.
  • McArthur DL, Peek-Asa C, Kraus JF. Injury hospitalizations before and after the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake. American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2002; 18(4):361-66.

Research Questions:

  • What services were available?
  • How many people sought and received care during the immediate aftermath? Where was care sought and received in relation to the event?
  • What effect did the mass casualty event have on other hospital services to non-event patients?
  • Did a lower than expected number of non-event related-patients seek and receive care?
  • What special needs populations were directly affected and in need of care following the event? What services were they in need of? Were they given special consideration/priority in treatment?


  • Target population: Anyone with non-event-related conditions who sought medical services up to two weeks following the event.
  • Study design: Cross-sectional medical record abstraction; surveys and interviews with hospital/ED administrators and attending physicians, charge nurses, and other supervisory caregivers; and survey of patients seeking care.

Sample Variables:

(NOTE: this info is to be collected on patients with NON-EVENT-related injuries)

  • From interview of facility representative: Type of establishment (hospital, clinic, etc.), number of staff or specialist on duty, hours of operation, address, and site of operation.
  • From medical records: Location when injured or when symptoms began, date and time of patient admission and/or discharge, presenting diagnosis, severity of injury, prescribed treatment, and where and when prescribed treatment was administered. 
  • From contacting patients: Special needs, condition of special need, where the patient went for first and subsequent medical care, barriers to receiving care, how patient identified services.

Time Frame:

Immediate up to two weeks after event, compared with similar time frame before event.

Potential Partners/Collaborators:

State and local health departments and hospitals, local university researchers, especially schools of public health and medicine, and CDC, NCIPC staff.

IRB needed:

Depends on how data are used.

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