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disability-adjusted life year

ABBR: DALY. An estimate of how much of a burden a disease poses to public health. The estimate includes the number of early deaths caused by the disease relative to the average life expectancy of a population and the severity and duration of the functional losses the disease causes in those who survive with it.

disabled lifespan

The number of months people are expected to live with severe limits on their ability to function, e.g., as a result of a terminal illness or grave injury.


(dī-săk′ă-rĭ-dās) A group of enzymes that split disaccharides into monosaccharides.


(dī-săk′ĭ-rĭd) [Gr. dis, twice, + sakkharon, sugar] A carbohydrate composed of two monosaccharides. SEE: carbohydrate.


(dĭs″ăr-tĭk″ū-lā′shŭn) [L. dis, apart, + articulus, joint] Amputation through a joint.


[″ + L. astrum, star, ill-starred] A natural or man-made occurrence such as a flood, tornado, earthquake, forest fire, bridge or building collapse, nuclear reactor accident, war, explosion, terrorist attack or bombing, or train wreck. The need for emergency evacuation and medical services is increased during and following a disaster. It is essential that hospitals and community services have a plan for the expeditious mobilization and use of their services at such times.

chemical d. The accidental release of large amounts of toxins into the environment. The effects suffered by people in the area are determined by the toxicity of the chemical, its speed in spreading, its composition (liquid, solid, or gaseous), and the spill site, esp. its proximity to a water supply or buildings. The major effect may be due to the chemical itself or to a resulting fire or explosion. The catastrophic release of chemicals may overwhelm, at least temporarily, local or regional health care resources. SEE: chemical warfare.

Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team

ABBR: DMORT. A specially trained group of citizens trained to evaluate deceased victims of natural and man-made disasters and to provide them with mortuary services. DMORT members participate in the evaluation of the cause of mass deaths, in the identification of the dead, and in the processing and disposition of remains.

disaster planning

A procedure for coping with mass casualties or massive disruptions of normal health care services as a result of human or natural catastrophes. In the U.S., the Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) requires that all hospitals have a written plan in place and that drills be performed twice a year to assess the plan’s usefulness. The plan should address major problems such as airplane crashes, contamination of the water supply, earthquakes, electrical power failures, explosions, famine, fire, flood, and terrorist attacks. The plan may be for ...

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