Skip to contents
In This Issue:
One month ago our world shifted dramatically. Assumptions about our safety and security were called into question in the wake of a devastating terrorist attack on our homeland. New terminology and new issues now confront each of us in our personal and professional lives as we struggle to address the aftermath of these events and recent media reports serve only to underscore these uncertainties.
One word that has become synonymous with insecurity is bioterrorism. It strikes at the very essence of our fear and exposes our vulnerability in ways that are strikingly uncomfortable. As we struggle to absorb seemingly contradictory information about risk and preparedness, we must focus our efforts at separating fact from fiction while preparing for any eventuality.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has undertaken a comprehensive approach to planning for what we anticipate will be the remote possibility of such a threat. As you may be aware, the hospital has an extensive disaster plan that prepares us to respond to any type of external situation, including a bioterrorist attack.
In fact, this week, we underwent a full training exercise to address this issue. This drill was planned many months ago and involved state and local authorities. I have asked a team under the leadership of Matt Van Vranken and Richard Zane, MD to closely examine our current policies and approach to these unprecedented issues.
Working collaboratively with regional organizations such as the Massachusetts and Federal Emergency Management Agencies, as well as MASCO, BWH has taken a leadership position on this issue. We have some of the nation’s leading researchers in this area and BWH was one of the first hospitals in New England to build a hazardous materials decontamination unit on campus. While it is impossible to anticipate every scenario, I am confident of the hospital’s preparedness to respond.
Ultimately, every employee shares in the responsibility of protecting our patients and our colleagues. We will share with you details of our planning efforts as we move forward. In the meantime, I offer my continued appreciation for your strength and professionalism as we address issues that were previously outside the bounds of our consideration.