Rectifying a failure in imagination using a medical generalist model: An analysis of the 9/11 Commission Report

F. Matthew Mihelic, MD


The 9/11 Commission asserted that a failure in imagination was the primary reason for inadequate prevention and response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This assertion has sparked discussion but has not been thoughtfully analyzed. The Commission also proposed the model of the medical generalist to address these inadequacies. This paper analyzes what the Commission perceived as a failure in imagination, examines the measures necessary for success in this area, and proposes avenues to institutionalize these measures in accordance with the suggested medical generalist model.



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National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States: The 9/11 Commission Report. Available at (p. 342). Accessed March 17, 2005.



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