The IDF recently acquired mobile medical imaging facilities, allowing doctors to
take X-rays, CT scans – and soon, MRI scans – of soldiers near frontline battle
positions, and to upload the images to an internal Internet network.
army has developed the Picture Archival Communications System, allowing a doctor
or specialist to remotely access the images from any location, and make a
diagnosis, said Lt.-Col. Michel Somekh, commander of the Imaging Wing of the IDF
In any future conflict, the medical corps can set up a
field hospital near the front line, which will include the mobile imaging
facilities, Somekh said.
The mobile facilities can run on generators, and
are insulated against radioactive particles to protect the sensitive
“We can have them ready to go the moment we receive an order.
They can be loaded on to a plane or on a truck,” he said.
the IDF has installed fixed medical imaging systems at nine facilities across
the country. The upgraded services include nuclear imaging, a technique based on
injecting a slightly radioactive substance into the patient’s bloodstream to
locate illness or injury.
“One of our most common ailments are stress
fractures, caused by intense physical activity in training,” Somekh said. In the
past, it often took weeks for the soldier to be referred to medical imaging
services, and for the results to come back to his army doctor. Today, Somekh
said, the whole process – including an Xray and CT scan, can be completed in a
“The soldier receives a disc with the results, and takes it back to
his doctor,” he said. “We’ve purchased a special camera that locates fractures
in three dimensions.”
The technological upgrades and the move toward
teleradiology mean that instead of having to ferry a doctor to remote southern
or northern IDF medical clinics, injuries can be diagnosed in minutes from
Some of the earliest use of mobile X-ray systems by the IDF was
made in the 2010 Haiti earthquake aid operation.
The IDF delegation used
the systems to help treat many injured Haitians.
After being treated and
bandaged at the Israeli field hospital, some of the patents arrived at the
floating US naval hospital with computer disks containing medical images of
“That’s when the system proved itself. We set it up in a
soccer field in the rain. It works under all conditions,” Somekh said.