Military Medical Role in Civilian Disaster

. 2022 Dec 15;33(4):349-359.

doi: 10.4037/aacnacc2022595.


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Kathleen Flarity et al.

AACN Adv Crit Care.



US military medical units have responded to natural disasters (eg, hurricanes, earthquakes), relieved overwhelmed civilian health care systems (eg, during the COVID-19 pandemic), and provided support to stabilization efforts after civil unrest. The military will continue to assist civilian agencies with future medical response to similar disasters, contagious outbreaks, or even terrorist attacks. The keys to an effective disaster response are unity of effort, prior coordination, and iterative practice during military-civilian exercises to identify strengths and areas of improvement. Critical care advanced practice nurses are likely to work concurrently with military medical colleagues in multiple scenarios in the future; therefore, it is important for these nurses to understand the capacities and limitations of military medical assets. This article describes the capabilities and collaboration needed between civilian and military medical assets during a variety of disaster scenarios.


civil defense; disaster medicine; disasters; military; military medicine.

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