Disaster Response

  • Farhad Ebrahim
  • Mohammad Naeem
  • Berndt P. Schmit
  • Ryan Sydnor
  • David Townes
  • Nathan Rohling
  • John H. Clouse


Disasters involve disruption of order on a grand scale; therefore relief and humanitarian aid efforts require a tremendous degree of organization. The role of radiology in medicine is well described; however, what is not well described, and often not fully considered, is the complex role of radiology in disaster response. Current 2017 literature analysis of both natural- and human-made disasters verifies the significant contribution of radiological sciences to disaster medicine. As technology evolves the role of radiology is becoming increasingly crucial in disaster response, to the extent that it can no longer be considered a luxury, but standard of care for all communities. The maxim “appropriate technology rather than more technology” should guide our involvement. Radiology response teams should first examine the setting of such disasters, including the conditions on the ground and the populations in need of aid in order to become more effective. Of the four phases of disaster response, preparedness is the most important and often overlooked component. While developing rural communities with poor infrastructure bear the brunt of natural disasters, human-made catastrophes in affluent societies increasingly are conducted through targeted bombing and cyberwarfare attacks on hospital facilities and IT systems. The radiologist’s main resource is his ability to act as physician first and radiologist later. Interorganizational collaboration and effective partners on the ground is the key to structuring a successful radiology disaster response.


Natural Human made Triage Phases of response Coordination Cultural factors Biomedical engineering and portable CT scanning Health cluster Interorganizational Strategic advanced imaging reserve Global disaster radiology team 



The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of the Army, Defense Health Agency (DHA), Department of Defense, or the United States Government. The authors have identified no conflicts of interest.

Special Thanks

The authors wish to express a special thanks to the following individuals for their contributions to the content and preparation of this chapter:

Dr. Behram Pastakia MD, FACR

Dr. Kamal Subedi MD c/o (TUTH), Kathmandu, Nepal

Dr. Eric Roberge MD

Mr. Michael Cairnie RT(R)(CT) RDMS(AB)

Dr. Ron Billow MD


Dr. Cathy Zhang MD

Dr. Basel Termanini MD c/o (SAMS)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farhad Ebrahim
    • 1
  • Mohammad Naeem
    • 2
    • 3
  • Berndt P. Schmit
    • 4
    • 5
  • Ryan Sydnor
    • 6
  • David Townes
    • 7
  • Nathan Rohling
    • 8
  • John H. Clouse
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyToledo Radiological AssociatesToledoUSA
  2. 2.Medical Corps, United States Army, Radiology and Radiological SciencesUniformed Services University of Health SciencesBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyDefense Health Agency, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, VAFort BelvoirUSA
  4. 4.Department of Diagnostic ImagingUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Medical ImagingBanner UMCTucsonUSA
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyAurora Sinai Medical Center of Aurora Health Care Metro, Inc.MilwaukeeUSA
  7. 7.Department of Emergency Medicine, Department of Global HealthUniversity of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA
  8. 8.Department of RadiologySpencer Hospital, Lakes Regional HealthcareSpencerUSA
  9. 9.Department of Emergency MedicineBoonshoft School of Medicine, Wright State UniversityDaytonUSA

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