Medical Examiners From Around the Globe Converge in NYCDate: April 25, 2012
Hundreds of medical examiners, forensic experts, law-enforcement and military personnel are participating in the International Mass Fatality Management Conference that began on April 25th. The conference is being held at the Medical Examiner's Office in New York in order to bring together international and domestic experts that are leaders in mass fatality management. These experts are exploring past incidents, discussing lessons learned and defining the best practices in order to enhance future responses.
Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, New York City Chief Medical Examiner, hosted the event. He explained that while some tragedies are unpreventable, experts can use their skills and technologies to alleviate some of the grief that families feel by returning the victims to them in the most efficient manner. This will allow family members to observe the rites and practices that bring them comfort.
Some of the International Mass Fatality Experts present are Pongruk Sribanditmongkol MD PhD; who oversaw victim identification after the tsunami destroyed much of Southern Thailand in 2004, Kathryne Bomberger; who is the Director General of the International Commission for Missing Persons, Dr. Tzipi Kahana; who is a forensic anthropologist for the Israeli National Police and has extensive experience in victim identification and mass casualties scenarios in Israel, Argentina, Thailand, New Zealand and Africa.
Many international disaster incidents are being discussed at the conference including the 9/11 attacks, suicide bombings, the Southeast Asian tsunami and the recent Japanese earthquake. Participants are actively sharing ideas of what practices were most successful in the aftermath of these tragedies with the hopes of better supporting the communities they service.
Misaskim representatives at the conference have expressed their appreciation to the Medical Examiner's Office for their extensive efforts in organizing this important event. One Misaskim representative explained that the New York Medical Examiner's Office is well qualified to host the event as they continuously show an extraordinary level of professionalism and sensitivity to all those they service. Only one day into the program and Misaskim representatives have already gained an abundance of new resources and information that may go a long way in improving the community service they provide.