At a large-scale drill in Tze’elim this week, 200 medical professionals serving in the army showed their power – not in weaponry used against the enemy but in treating “wounded” and “sick” soldiers.

The complicated exercise, Lt.-Col. Dr. Itzhik Malka – head of the medical branch of the Ground Forces Command – told The Jerusalem Post that the drill, in which a variety of teams of four soldiers each participated, was a success, and that lessons were learned.

The event at the logistical training center at Tze’elim, in the northwestern Negev, was the fifth of its kind. The teams included physicians, paramedics, medics and ambulance drivers, each assigned an ambulance.

“They competed in treating wounded in mass catastrophes and routinely ill soldiers and in their knowledge of basic medical studies,” said Malka. “Everything went according to plan.”

The medical teams came from the the leading units in the Ground Forces, including the Officer’s School, Aviation Center, Center for Ground Training, Parachutists’ School, Armored Corps, Artillery Corps, the Engineering Corps’ elite Yahalom unit.

The winners of the drill, according to the military physician panel of judges, were the Armored Corps, while the School for Military Engineering was runner- up.

“One of the most important things on the battlefield is giving rapid medical treatment,” said Malka. The IDF ensures that ground forces and their medical teams are trained at all times and know how to function in the best possible way, in times of routine and in emergencies. They must always be prepared.”

“The teams were give advanced and new equipment, including dried plasma to which physiological fluid is added to reconstitute the plasma from the powder and then injected; and a tourniquet better able to stop bleeding and that makes it possible for a buddy or the wounded soldier himself to use it under fire.”

It was the first time that the IDF used the powdered plasma in field conditions, Malka added.

The teams were put through a variety of “stations,” including those testing their use of medical equipment; preventive medicine; and simulators of mass catastrophes; and treating wounded in urban areas and those trapped in collapsed buildings; and preparing ambulances.

Medics were asked to insert infusions and run with “wounded” on stretchers.

On the lighter side, there was also a trivia quiz.

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