This issue of Pediatric Annals is the last of three issues devoted to terrorism and its potential consequences, edited admirably by Dr. Gregory Blaschke of the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. Unfortunately, this topic is very timely and the three issues contain important concepts and "pearls" related to terrorism and its potential impact on children. In our traditional pediatric role of advocating for children, we are urged by Greg and his pediatric military colleagues to ensure that our local communities have thought about the needs of child victims, including practical issues such as autoinjector antidotes for nerve agents in doses appropriate for children and other child-appropriate equipment and supplies. Our most precious citizens cannot be afterthoughts as disaster plans are developed.
This stamp from El Salvador states simply "Proteccion a la infancia," Childhood Protection.
The articles in this issue also highlight the Israeli experiences during the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991). Publications by Israeli physicians reported experience with accidental atropine poisoning of children from autoinjectors that had been distributed widely, an experience from which appropriate pediatric dosing of atropine following nerve agent exposure can be derived. They also described the advantages and details of a separate pediatric triage and monitoring area following decontamination procedures.
I hope that many of you will tuck these issues away in a safe place. Hopefully, they will never need to be consulted, but in the event of terrorist attacks on our civilian population you will have some hard-to-get practical information.
I have chosen several stamps for this issue that relate to nuclear energy and to potential terrorism exposures. The stamp that depicts the burning towers on the New York skyline is from Shqiperia, better known in English as Albania. The blue and white stamp from Sweden (Sverige) was issued in 1979 to highlight the hazards of automobile exhaust. Today, however, the child wearing a gas mask might better symbolize the risk of deliberate cyanide or organophosphate nerve agents.
The purple stamp from France depicts Henri Becquerel, who discovered radioactivity in 1896 when he showed that uranium spontaneously emitted a powerful form of radiation. He shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 with Pierre and Marie Curie, his colleagues in Paris.
The souvenir sheet from the Republic of Guinea highlights Marie Curie, who isolated the new highly radioactive element radium chloride in 1898. After sharing the 1903 Nobel Prize and after the tragic death of Pierre in 1906 (at 47 he was trampled by a horse-drawn vehicle near the Left Bank end of the Pont Neuf, Paris), Marie Curie received a second Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911 for her further studies of radioactivity. The Curies' daughter, Irène Joliot, and her husband, Frédéric, were also awarded the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Note that the birth and death dates printed on the stamp (twice) are actually those of Pierre Curie; Marie was born in 1867 and died in 1934.