Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Israel's Emergency Response

CNN Reports:
And at a U.S. medical facility, doctors were asking why they didn't have critical equipment or the ability to perform surgeries, while a field hospital set up by Israel did.

"The disaster was the quake. This is the disaster that's following in its wake," said Dr. Jennifer Furin of Harvard Medical School, referring to the lack of better medical care on the ground. Medical operations were under way off the coast on a U.S. ship for some patients who could be flown there.

Families were "with their loved ones who they were so excited to see alive, only now to watch them die a slow, painful death from their rotting flesh because the infections are out of control and they need surgery," Furin said.

"I've been here since Thursday. No one except the Israeli hospital has taken any of our patients," she told CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.

Cohen visited the Israeli hospital and said it was "like another world," with imaging equipment and other machinery. "They have actual operating rooms, and it's just amazing."

How has Israel, a small country on the other side of the world, set up an operating field hospital while the United States has not? "It's a frustrating thing that I really can't explain," Furin said, adding, "We're desperate."
While at many times, Israel seems to be the ultimate "balagan" (chaos), in reality there are aspects of Israel that are extremely organized and prepared.

I've attended MDA courses on earthquake and disaster preparedness, and I'm amazed at the world class organization and thought that goes into our planning process.

Yesterday, stupid motorists got washed away while trying to get through raging floods that covered roads. The IDF's 669 airborne emergency rescue unit was the obvious solution, and helicopter teams plucked the helpless motorists from the roofs of their cars under stormy conditions.

Israel's IDF Homefront command has a multitude of solutions for all sorts of terrible scenarios -- and Thank G-d there are people who spend day and night preparing; hopefully we will never need to see these actualized.

On a different note, security concerns in Haiti have resulted in a Belgian medical staff abandoning wounded and dying patients.
"Earthquake victims, writhing in pain and grasping at life, watched doctors and nurses walk away from a field hospital Friday night after a Belgian medical team evacuated the area, saying it was concerned about security."
CNN reported:
...the Belgian doctors did not want to leave their patients behind but were ordered out by the United Nations, which sent buses to transport them.
Somehow, I doubt that the IDF hospital would leave if "asked" by the UN due to "security concerns"...at least not at this stage of the disaster.

Yet what I find simply amazing, is that while US President Obama goes to bat for Haiti, and sends in US troops to help retain order -- France criticizes them for "occupying" Haiti.
The French minister in charge of humanitarian relief called on the UN to "clarify" the American role amid claims the military build up was hampering aid efforts.

Alain Joyandet admitted he had been involved in a scuffle with a US commander in the airport's control tower over the flight plan for a French evacuation flight.

This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti," Mr Joyandet said.
Kudos to President Obama and United States for ignoring political correctness, and taking an active role in securing Haiti, running the airport, and providing crucial air-traffic control -- in addition to providing food, supplies, shelter and medical assistance.

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yoni r. said...

It's amazing the level of care possible when the doctors and patients are not encumbered by the kupot.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yoni R: That's rather unfair -- I don't think Israel's medical care via the Kupot is that bad.

Can you show me any system that provides better public, socialized health care than Israel?

I did an MDA ambulance shift 2 weeks ago...I saw patients in the emergency room getting X-rayed in the emergency room through a portable x-ray machine, advanced life saving techniques, and CVA/stroke patients receiving Thrombolitic treatment (now available at all of Israel's Gush Dan Hospitals).

yoni r. said...


In case you missed it, my transversus linguae was lodged firmly in my buccinator.

(Had I realized there was going to be a test on health care systems from around the world, I wouldn't have said anything.)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yoni: Ooops -- sorry :)

or should I write:

Olah Chadasha said...

France is just pissed b/c they were hoping to use this as an opportunity to take Haiti back. All kidding aside, what would be worse? Let anarchy take control, and the U.S. is blamed for the deaths that follow, or being accused of occupation while you stop people from dying? You know what? Someone needs to temporarily occupy the country and declare full martial law and stop things from getting so bad there's no reversing it.

In the end, America will get slammed no matter what it does. So it might as well just keep doing what it's doing. And instead of France bit*hing and moaning, they should step up and put their backs into helping Haiti.

Chai18 said...


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Thanks Chai18 -- loved the video!

Chai18 said...

np love the blog

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