Management and Identification Methods of Deceased Victims after Mass Disasters
Introduction: The management and identification of deceased victims is an important part during the response process for a mass disaster and is considered a crucial step that will allow the affected community to recover. Aim: To identify the most effective method of managing and identifying deceased victims after a mass disaster, depending on its type and existing conditions. Μaterial and Method: A systematic review was conducted through Medline/Pubmed, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar databases, without any time limitations. The key-words used were: DVI, disaster, victim, identification, mass fatality, dead bodies management and their combinations. Studies’ inclusion criteria were to be related to humans and be written in English language. A total of 526 publications were identified, of which 35 were considered appropriate and included in the sample of the review. Results: The management of the dead bodies seemed to depend on the type of disaster (tsunami, fire, air crash, terrorist attack, shipwreck and other disasters), the number of victims, and the means available, while the condition of the bodies is a determining factor for the successful implementation of each identification method. In order to effectively manage a large number of victims, it was necessary to create temporary morgues with refrigeration storage available, taking into account the conditions in each area. Appropriate infrastructure and training appeared to promote efficiency. DNA analysis was used in all types of disasters, with major constraints on the need for proper infrastructure and its cost and was necessary in cases of amputations. The use of fingerprints was not possible in cases of great destruction of the bodies by fire or advanced decomposition, but it was an easy and quick method when it could be applied. Finally, comparative dental analysis was applied to all kinds of disasters, especially in cases of great destruction of the bodies. The existence and accessibility of victim’s ante-mortem data was critical for the effective implementation of each method. Conclusions: By the recognition of a danger, an assessment could be made of the most appropriate method of managing and identifying victims after a potential disaster. Also, proper preparation and organization of each state can greatly influence the effectiveness of identification methods.
|Volume 57, N 4
|Antonios Bagourakis , Margarita GIannakopoulou