Nuclear, incoming?

Letter to editor of the Globe and Mail from Frank Sommers, 21 March 2017

Re The Cassandras Are Warning Of Nuclear Doom – So Why Doesn’t Canada Seem To Care? (March 18):

Elizabeth Renzetti’s review of the resurgent threat posed by nuclear weapons brings to mind physicians’ efforts to educate the public and political leaders about the catastrophic medical consequences a nuclear strike would present.

I quote from a 1982 City of Toronto pamphlet we helped to prepare: “A one-megaton (70 times the destructive power of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) nuclear weapon detonated in the air above downtown Toronto during business hours would kill 750,000 people immediately and severely injure more than a million others; if detonated during the early evening, it would kill 624,000 residents and severely injure another 795,000. It would destroy 65- to 80 per cent of all the city’s hospital beds, along with blood banks, antibiotics, sterile supplies, diagnostic and life-support systems, operating theatres and emergency treatment centres. The blast would kill more than 5,000 physicians, leaving only one doctor for every 1,000 survivors – with only a little black bag for assistance.”

With our denser population, some 35 years later, these numbers would be higher. The devastating reality of nuclear arms calls on all of us, governments and citizens, to work to prevent their use.

Frank Sommers, MD, honorary and founding president, Canadian Physicians for Social Responsibility/Physicians for Global Survival