Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Medical Response to Terrorism

From the Christchurch mosque shootings to London Bridge: translating lessons for general healthcare

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 27 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1366
  1. Rebecca Coombes, head of news and views
  1. The BMJ
  1. rcoombes{at}

Practices that develop in the heat of extreme situations have applications in day-to-day healthcare, finds Rebecca Coombes

“It was around 10 pm,” says Mike Christian, “and we had just dropped off a patient at the Royal London Hospital when the call came to respond to a road traffic collision—a car versus pedestrian—and we were dispatched to Tooley Street at London Bridge, less than 10 minutes away.”

Christian is a doctor with the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS), which responds to serious trauma emergencies in and around London. On 3 June 2017 he was a first responder to the London Bridge terror attack.

Major incidents

Aside from the day job Christian works with the NHS and the police to learn lessons from major incidents and improve future responses to crises. At the Risky Business conference this June (see below for details) he will share insights into how the practices that develop in the heat of extreme situations can be applied to everyday healthcare.

He spoke to The BMJ on the day of the recent mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, commenting, “We know that these crisis situations will keep coming, as we unfortunately see today. From experiences at London Bridge, the Bataclan in Paris, and others, we know that some of the challenges are actually quite predictable, and it is important for us to plan in advance and come up with ways to learn to deal with them.”

A Canadian living in London, Christian is a critical care physician and …

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