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Lessons learnt in ethical publishing from mass casualty events: the Manchester bombing experience
  1. Edward Carlton1,2,
  2. Ellen J Weber3
  1. 1 Emergency Department, North Bristol NHS Trust, Westbury on Trym, UK
  2. 2 School of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England Bristol, Bristol, UK
  3. 3 Emergency Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Edward Carlton, Emergency Department, North Bristol NHS Trust, Westbury on Trym BS10 5NB, UK; eddcarlton{at}

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There are certain events that resonate with all emergency clinicians, events that many of us hope we will never bear witness to and events that, unfortunately, some of us have. Mass casualty events are thankfully rare, with estimates in the USA of around 0.15% of all emergency service calls.1 However, in 2017 the NHS in the UK was faced with an unprecedented number of such events, including the Manchester Arena bombing. Each event poses new challenges in terms of environment, threats posed to staff and casualties and the injuries sustained.2 It is therefore important for ‘lessons learnt’ from mass casualty events to continue to be written up and published in a robust and scientific manner.3 However, at the centre of every mass casualty event are the patients themselves, those who may not survive, those who survive with life-changing injuries and those who are lucky to escape without physical injury but who suffer long-term psychological trauma as a result of events they witness. Authors of reports around mass casualty events therefore have a unique challenge when presenting events in a way that is scientific yet considers ethical publishing in terms of patient consent, potentially identifiable data, considerations of impact of publishing on communities and inevitable media reporting. Editors and journals too have a similar responsibility to patients who are involved in such events. It is therefore a great opportunity for the Emergency Medicine Journal (EMJ) not only to publish Dark et …

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  • Handling editor Richard Body

  • Twitter @eddcarlton

  • Contributors The authors are associate editor (EC) and editor-in-chief (EJW) of the EMJ. Both conceived the idea for the manuscript, handled the related work, drafted and approved the final submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.