Disaster reanimatology potentials: A structured interview study in armenia i. methodology and preliminary results

Miroslav Klain, Edmund Ricci, Peter Safar, Victor Semenov, Ernesto Pretto, Samuel Tisherman, Joel Abrams, Comfort Louise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In general, preparations for disasters which result in mass casualties do not incorporate a modern resuscitation approach. We explored the life-savingpotential of and time limits for life-supporting first aid (LSFA), advanced trauma life support (ATLS), resuscitative surgery, and prolonged life support (PLS: intensive care) following the earthquake in Armenia on 7 December 1988. We used a structured, retrospective interview method applied previously to evaluation of emergency medical services (EMS) in the United States. A total of 120 survivors of and participants in the earthquake in Armenia were interviewed on site (49 lay eyewitnesses, 20 search-rescue personnel, 39 medical personnel and records, and 12 administrators). Answers were verified by crosschecks. Preliminary results permit the following generalizations: 1) a significant number of victims died slowly as the result of injuries such as external hemorrhage, head injury with coma, shock, or crush syndrome; 2) early search and rescue was performed primarily by uninjured covictims using hand tools; 3) many lives potentially could have been saved by the use of LSFA and ATLS started during extrication of crushed victims. 4) medical teams from neighboringLMS systems started to arrive at the site at 2–3 hours and therefore, ATLS could have been provided in time to save lives and limbs; 5) some amputations had to be performed in thefield to enable extrication; 6) the usefulness of other resuscitative surgery in thefield needs to be clarified; 7) evacuations zvere rapid; 8) air evacuation proved essential; 9) hospital intensive care was well organized; and 10) international medical aid, which arrived after 48 hours, was too late to impact on resuscitation. Definitive analysis of data in the near future will lead to recommendations for local, regional, and National Disaster Medical Systems (NDMS).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-152
Number of pages18
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Advanced Life Support
  • Earthquake
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Evaluation
  • First Aid
  • Health Care Rescue
  • Resuscitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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