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All French Medical Students Must Now Be Trained In Terror Response

First aid on the scene of the Bataclan attack in Nov. 2015
First aid on the scene of the Bataclan attack in Nov. 2015
Lucie Jung

PARIS — A series of major terrorist attacks since 2015 has changed life in France in big and small ways. Now it is about to change training requirements for French medical students. Beginning in September, every Faculty of Medicine in France must provide a training class for all of its students on how to treat victims of terrorist attacks, the French daily Le Figaro reports.

Originally only required for medical students at military institutions, these courses will now be taught at specialized training centers to all second-year students of any medical-related field, which includes not only physicians, but also dentists and pharmacists. The initiative aims to help master basic life-saving procedures such as body extraction, injury assessment and skills for carrying out health-care procedures in a hostile environment. French weekly Le Point reports that some students will also receive training on "damage control," a temporary surgery technique to avoid blood loss before hospital care is possible.

More attacks are bound to happen.

This decision is part of the growing awareness among French institutions that long-term policies are needed to live in a future where more terrorist attacks are bound to happen. Since January 2015, eight separate jihadist attacks have killed a total of 239 people. The ultimate goal in this new medical education initiative is to train 750,000 people across France, including as many current medical personnel as possible.

Dr. Denis Safran, a specialist in French emergency intervention, who was on site on Nov. 15, 2015 at the Paris attack, says its important that more people are trained in such techniques. "Many people, even doctors, are sometimes afraid to make things worse by intervening," Safran told Le Figaro. "But it's precisely not doing anything to help the victim that can aggravate the situation."

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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