Hadassah hospital 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Health Ministry Associate Director-General Dr. Boaz Lev said Monday that all the
country’s medical centers need to be expanded, renovated and fortified in the
event of an enemy missile attack or devastating earthquake.
conceded that “nothing is perfect,” and it will take five years until hospital
administrators are satisfied.
The issue was raised on Monday in the
Knesset Control Committee by Kadima MK and physician Dr. Rachel Adatto, who was
following up on comptroller reports on the hospital system’s lack of readiness in
the event of such an attack.
The Knesset committee was chaired by MK Yoel
Hasson, who also focused on the lack of hospital manpower and hospital beds in
an emergency of such magnitude.
He said that in the next attack, the
public will be “much less forgiving” of the authorities’ shortcomings than they
were in the Second Lebanon War.
Hasson warned that even the Japanese –
who were well prepared for the possibility of a strong earthquake – were
“surprised” by the force of the last quake. “We in Israel are always on the edge
of an emergency situation,” he said.
While it is true that not every
eventuality can be safely managed, Hasson added that “one can plan better than
we have today. We still have not received satisfactory answers from the Health
Ministry and Magen David Adom on the lack of manpower and hospital
Only some hospitals in the north and south were fortified with
underground emergency rooms, surgical theaters and other vital facilities – and
this took much time and private fundraising when state funding was
But Adatto said that due to enemy missiles having longer
ranges and more power, all the general, geriatric, rehabilitation and
psychiatric hospitals around Israel could have to admit wounded
Thus all of them needed fortification, she said.
added that even during an ordinary, flu-ridden winter season, there are
ordinarily about 10,000 acute hospital patients.
“But we also have to
prepare for an earthquake, or a war at the same time,” she said. “It is still
not clear who would manage such an occurrence – the Ministry, the Israel Defense
Forces or a National Emergency Authority.”
Lev, a longtime senior
ministry official, said “in five years, hospital fortification will be much
improved.” He agreed with Adatto that all hospitals need to be fortified, but
due to financial limitations the priority now is mostly for those in the
Ziv Hospital director Dr. Oscar Embon warned that
although his hospital was hit from missiles in the Second Lebanon War, it has
not been fortified.
“We are still far away from this because no budget
has been found,” he cautioned.
“Also in the event of an earthquake, Ziv
is on the top of the list of unprepared hospitals, but it is not being readied.”