Texas Explosion Injuries Like Those Seen in Combat

Dr. Richard Besser discusses the injuries and health effects of the fertilizer-plant explosion.
3:00 | 04/18/13

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Transcript for Texas Explosion Injuries Like Those Seen in Combat
George, an immediate concern in an explosion like this one is the seriousness of the injuries. Abc's chief health and medical editor dr. Richard besser was in charge of emergency response for the cdc for many years and he's been tracking the latest on this all night long and dr. Besser, we heard from waco police, broken bones, open wounds, a large amount of people with varying degrees of medical injuries. What are they dealing with on the ground? Doctors in this country rarely see this kind of thing. This is what you see in a major combat situation so you have the injuries from the blast itself. Y organ that has air in it, your lungs, intestines, ear, the pressure wave can rupture those and that can be life-threatening and penetrating injuries, debris that's been flying and can cause all kinds of complex wounds. You've got burn, broken bones, dirty wounds, you know, the key to saving lives is proper triage. The hospitals can get swamped by people who have minor injuries that can get there quickly. You have to disperse all of them to hospitals in a broad area. We know there was an immediate concern of exposure to gas and fumes from the explosion at the fertilizer plant and hearing the testing going on, they feel like things are okay but what are the possible long-term effects and what will professionals be looking for to determine whether it's safe to come back. As horrible as it was we dodged a bullet. Initially they were seeing people coming in with burning eyes. If there was a major chemical release you would have seen major decontamination being set up with showers at the hospitals and large area of people affected. Thankfully that's not taking place. They'll monitor the air and water to make sure everything is safe in that area.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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