Health Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu denounced on Wednesday the
Public Security Ministry’s efforts to take over from his office responsibility
for supervising emergency medical and rescue organizations such as Magen David
Adom and United Hatzalah.
“They must remain under the watchful eye of the
Health Ministry only,” Gamzu said at United Hatzalah’s annual two-day convention
at Jerusalem’s Ramada Hotel. “No other ministry or body will receive
responsibility for it, because it is illegal to do so. The Fire Service can be
under the Public Security Ministry, but I will not agree to medical rescue being
transferred to it because of vested interests.
It will remain in the
Health Ministry, which is the natural place for it.”
Such services, said
the director-general, “have to be evenly distributed around the country,
including the periphery, and be as equitable as possible.
He noted that
he started his own medical career as a medic.
“You are suddenly called to
help the wounded and sick. You are the first to arrive. You have a surge of
adrenalin and the feeling of responsibility for a person’s life on your
shoulders. Just like a doctor must learn every day and read a lot of medical
literature, a medic too must constantly educate himself; courses are not
enough,” he said.
Attended by more than 100 men, the conference was the
six-year-old volunteer organization’s third national gathering and included
regional and district leaders of the medical rescue organization. Unlike MDA,
which must charge for its service, United Hatzalah is based solely on volunteer
work, with medics and paramedics arriving on ambucycles within
The target, said UH founder and president Eli Beer and its new
director- general Yoni Gedj, is for help to arrive within 90 seconds because the
volunteer lives or works nearby. The organization has grown from 350 volunteers
six years ago to 2,000 today – haredi, modern Orthodox and secular Jewish men
and some Arab men as well.
Beer said that UH has launched a new project
called “Give Honor” in which medics “adopt” elderly people who live alone and
have no family.
There are many people who die at home and no one is
alerted immediately because they are alone. Only the smell of a decaying body
alerts the police to the scene.
The UH volunteers, who are expected this
year to “adopt” 500 more elderly people, will come and take the person’s blood
pressure reading and his pulse and regularly call to make sure he is well. If he
has a heart attack or stroke, we can find them in time to save his life and
prevent permanent disability, Beer said.