© 2009

Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine

A Practical Guide

  • Adriaan P. C. C. Hopperus Buma
  • David G. Burris
  • Alan Hawley
  • James M. Ryan
  • Peter F. Mahoney
  • Practical guidance from people with accepted expertise current field experience

  • A practical guide for medical aid personnel working in conflicts, catastrophes and remote areas

  • Provides background knowledge of the 'climate' in which medical aid is delivered, explains how to get involved, how to stay safe, the differences in remote medicine, and how to get home and re-adjust

  • Focuses on psychosocial and physiological health needs of volunteers


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Introduction: Players and Paradigms

    1. David R. Steinbruner
      Pages 3-3
    2. David R. Steinbruner
      Pages 13-15
    3. Alan Hawley
      Pages 17-30
    4. M. Kett, A. van Tulleken, Martin C. M. Bricknell, T. Spicer, K. Morland, Bob Mark
      Pages 31-73
    5. David R. Steinbruner, Martin C. M. Bricknell, Robin Cordell, David C. Mcloughlin
      Pages 75-88
    6. Daloni A. Carlisle
      Pages 89-100
    7. Steven A. Bland, Iain C. Grant, Sundeep Dhillon
      Pages 101-121
  3. Disasters, Public Health, and Populations

    1. Tony Redmond, Steven A. Bland
      Pages 125-149
    2. Martin C.M. Bricknell
      Pages 177-187
    3. Martin C. M. Bricknell, Gareth Moore
      Pages 189-195
    4. Alan Hawley
      Pages 223-239
    5. Maarten Hoejenbos, Adriaan Hopperus Buma
      Pages 251-260
    6. David R Steinbruner
      Pages 261-263
  4. Introduction: Living and Working

    1. David R. Steinbruner, Steve Mannion, David R. Steinbruner, Kenneth I. Roberts
      Pages 267-286
    2. Garry M. Vardon-Smith, Kenneth I. Roberts, Kenneth I. Roberts, Bob Mark
      Pages 287-314

About this book


The second revised, expanded and updated edition of Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine: A Practical Guide provides a framework for use by health professionals visiting a resource-constrained environment. Since the first edition was written in 2002, there have been seismic changes following on from the terrorist assault on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The Middle East, the Far East and parts of Africa are convulsed by conflict, much of them verging on civil war. Further, natural disasters of staggering scale have occurred since the first edition –Tsunamis in South East Asia, Earthquakes in Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan and a monster Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. The working environment for the prospective humanitarian volunteer has changed forever.

Encompassing problems brought about by local conflict or natural disasters, this book covers preparation, organisation, logistics, treatment of major trauma and medical emergencies, and the special problems of delivering medicine in a hostile environment.

Conflict and Catastrophe Medicine: A Practical Guide comprehensively tackles:
- self-preparation of health professionals to face a range of medical and related problems which occur in hostile and remote environments;
- war and disaster medicine, covering acute management, rehabilitation, reconstruction and prevention;
- bridging the fields of medicine, nursing, international relations, history, politics and economics.
Other topics covered include nutrition, infection, trauma, psychiatry and psychological medicine and training.

James M Ryan Leonard Cheshire Professor at UCL, London, UK

Alan Hawley OBE Director, Conflict and Catastrophe Faculty at Society of Apothecaries & Major General DGAMS, UK

David Burris Professor & Chairman, Department of Surgery, United Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA

Adriaan Hopperus-Buma Netherlands Convenor for Diploma in the Medical Care of Catastrophes (DMMC). Medical Services, Royal Netherlands Navy, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Peter F Mahoney OBE Consultant in Anaesthetics and Resuscitation, Defence Medical Services, Birmingham, UK


Surgery Trauma ballistics conflict medicine disaster medicine emergency medicine humanitarian aid military medicine recovery relief medicine trauma medicine war

Editors and affiliations

  • Adriaan P. C. C. Hopperus Buma
    • 1
  • David G. Burris
    • 2
  • Alan Hawley
    • 3
  • James M. Ryan
    • 4
    • 2
  • Peter F. Mahoney
    • 5
  1. 1.Inspector General Military Health CareMinistry of Defence (MOD NL)The Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Former Army Staff CollegeCamberleyUK
  4. 4.St George's University of LondonTootingUK
  5. 5.Royal Centre for Defence MedicineBirminghamUK

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Health & Hospitals
Internal Medicine & Dermatology


From the reviews of 1st edition:

"[T]akes a welcome step towards collating essential knowledge, both theoretical and practical, for healthcare workers contemplating humanitarian work." (Douglas M. Bowley, JRSM, September 2002, vol 95, 472-473 )

"[R]epresents and ambitious project with a broad scope of interests. Few books take health care providers through every step of relief work, from contemplating their own motivations and suitability for the task and packing safe and practical clothing. Alternately handbook and reference book, this collection offers advise for settings in which the ‘medicine is often more straightforward than the logistics.’ It should prove most useful for providers who are inexperienced in rendering health care outside of the traditional hospital or clinic setting, whatever their level of training." (Rebecca S. Newton, NEJM, 13.03.2003, 1070-71)

"[A] very useful book for all physicians, nurses and paramedics, as well as other medical professionals who consider or plan to join the ranks of many thousands of humanitarian aid workers. This book would also be an excellent entry-level course book for various introductory courses, workshops and other educational activities. [T]his book takes an enormous step in helping to understand and act in appropriate manner. I certainly would pack this book along next time I go." (Ari Leppaniemi, Scandinavian Journal of Surgery, March 2002, vol 91, 127-128)

"I strongly recommend it for any student considering an elective, doctor considering a post-graduate posting or brief locum in an area of conflict, or administrator working with a humanitarian organization. It is an excellent book which could be made even better in a second edition." (Michael Jones, Tropical Doctor, April 2003, vol 33, 125)