After Chernobyl--How Us Physicians Respond To Radioactive Fallout
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After Chernobyl--How Us Physicians Respond To Radioactive Fallout

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      On April 26, 1986, a reactor unit at the Soviet Union's Chernobyl Power Station exploded, and substantial amounts of radioactive material were released. Fallout from this incident was deposited in the U.S. and elsewhere. Radioactive fallout is a major concern for obstetricians and pediatricians; their patients are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of radiation. This study addresses the question: What are these physicians' perceptions and beliefs about fallout and its effects on their patients? A questionnaire was developed to measure these perceptions and beliefs. This instrument was mailed in November 1986 to all obstetricians and pediatricians listed in the telephone directory for western Massachusetts. A factor analysis of the physicians' responses yielded five factors: concern for patients, management of risk, effect of fallout, physicians' role in prevention, and guidance on advising patients. The physicians' responses to patients' inquiries were categorized as giving information, reassurance, and prescription. The authors recommend that the study be replicated with a more representative sample, that professional medical groups provide reliable information to members, and that physicians ask their professional organizations to address the issue of physician participation in the national planning process relevant to their concerns about radioactive fallout.
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