Abstract

BackgroundIn this paper, we shed the light on Beirut’s blast that took place in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) era. An explosion that ripped the heart of Beirut, it produced a destructive shock wave that left thousands of casualties and people homeless. This explosion, which had a mushroom-like cloud appearance similar to that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was described as the third-biggest explosion in human history. It was a blast that not only destroyed lives but also fell as a heavy burden on the shoulders of a country that was suffering from unprecedented economic crisis on top of the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing all this, health care providers were the first line of defense in what looked like an impossible mission.ObjectiveWe seek to share with the medical community our experience and the challenges we faced, as a neurosurgery team, during this event, particularly that we were short of basic medical equipment as well as intensive care unit beds since we were in the middle of an economic crisis and the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This prohibited us from delivering proper care, whether in the triage of patients or in the operating room, as well as postoperative care. Now, 1 year after this sad event, we revisit the whole situation and examine all the pitfalls that could have been avoided. Thus, we discuss the importance of initiating a disaster response, in particular the neurosurgical emergency response, to be better prepared to face future potential events.ConclusionsThe rate-limiting step in such disasters is definitely a well-prepared trained team with a prompt and fast response. And, since time is brain, then what saves the brain is proper timing.

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