Medical Management of a Plutonium-Contaminated Patient by the French Armed Forces Health Service – Organization and Use of DTPA

Dr Jean-Christophe AMABILE,Pr Pierre LAROCHE
Service de protection radiologique des armées (SPRA)
1 bis, rue du Lieutenant Raoul Batany 92 141 CLAMART CEDEX FRANCE


Medical management of a Plutonium-contaminated patient could be necessary particularly in case of a nuclear weapon accident (on a French Air Force base or during transportation), a civilian work accident in a specialized facility or a terrorist attack. These kinds of situations require a specific organization in the event of numerous wounded (triage of absolute and relative emergencies, management of psychological aspects, etc.) and specific structures like the Center for the Treatment of Radio-Contaminated Wounded (CTBRC).

The French Defense radiation protection service (SPRA) is located on the site of the Percy Military Hospital which is well known for the treatment of radio-contaminated and irradiated wounded. This service has to control all of the CTBRC in France. During the exercises performed by the French Navy or the Air Force, the SPRA provides hygiene and safety support to Ministry of Defense, advises headquarters, plays the role of arbitrator and can send on the spot, by road or by aircraft, an expert team and an analysis team with mobile laboratories (radiochemical analysis).

The SPRA is also involved in numerous military and civilian training courses coordinated by the French Armed Forces Health Service (e.g., the new Master CBRN organized in 2009), to teach the principles of the medical response in case of a radiological accident and especially the efficacy of drugs like Ca-DTPA that can be used with ampoules of one gram for IV injection (or external decontamination) and capsules (inhaler).