The Medical Management
of Radiation Accidents

Robert H. Wagner, MD
Robert E. Henkin, MD
James R Halama, Ph.D.

About this tutorial

The following tutorial has been created for physicians, nurses, and other paramedical specialists. It is meant to be a guide in preparing your hospital to receive, treat, and decontaminate patients that may have been involved in a radiation accident.

The tutorial is divided into three main sections. Each section may be completed by the user in 15 to 20 minutes. The first is a didactic section presenting background information on radiation, and biological effects. The second reviews the principles of decontamination and other aspects of care. The final section is problem based and interactive allowing the user to make choices about the care of patients who has been involved in one of several accident scenarios. It is recommended that the first two sections be read in the order of presentation. Those familiar with the principles of radiation accident management may want to progress in a more directed fashion.

The information in this guide is based on knowledge and experience gained over the past six years while training physicians, nurses and other hospital staff in close proximity to nuclear power plants. Several useful references are also available.

Finally, graphics and video presentations are incorporated throughout this tutorial. Every effort has been made to keep these multimedia files as concise as possible to prevent the user from waiting long periods while the file loads. It is recommended that video clips NOT be selected if the user has a modem connection slower than 14,400 BAUD as the transfer time may be quite lengthy.


Tutorial: Fundamental of Radiation

  • Background Information
  • Common Levels of Exposure
  • Radiation in Perspective
  • Exposure vs Contamination
  • Biologic Effects
  • Results of High Level Exposure
  • The Need for Preparation
  • Tutorial: Principles of Radiation Accident Management

  • General Hospital Preparation
  • Required Personnel - Immediate
  • Required Personnel - Definitive Care
  • Patient Arrival
  • Initial Management - ABC's
  • Initial Survey and Specimen Collection
  • Decontamination
  • Special Situations
  • Patient Exit
  • Staff Exit and Cleanup
  • Long Term Follow Up
  • Case Scenarios:

  • Evaporator Accident
  • Embedded Particle
  • A Fall into the Fuel Pool
  • About the authors:

    Additional Useful Links

    Sources of Information