Reproduced in this article is the opinion of the author and not the official policy of the Department of Army, Department of Defense or the US Government.
Ionizing radiation is discussed elsewhere in detail (radiation exposure and contamination: types of radiation). Mass injured by ionizing radiation may be caused by the detonation of a nuclear (cleavage) or a thermonuclear plant (Fusion), by the contamination of conventional explosives with radioactive material (such a weapon is referred to as a radiation spreading device [RDD] or a “dirty bomb”) or by placement of (z. B. under a subway seat) a hidden source of radiation. In cases where radiation was deliberately used as a weapon, it must be noted that the patients in this exposed (irradiated) were, whether they were contaminated or both. If contamination has occurred, it is important to determine whether this is external, internal or both. The use of the acronym ASBESTOS (see table: “ASBESTOS”: Secondary assessment of mass casualties due to chemical or radiological weapons) is helpful to make these determinations. Another useful clinical resource is the online and downloadable module, Emergency Medical Radiation Management (REMM). Reproduced in this article is the opinion of the author and not the official policy of the Department of Army, Department of Defense or the US Government.