Bed, manpower shortages surface in Barzilai Hosptial drill

Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center, which is within the closest range of terrorist rocket and missile firings, held its largest ever chemical warfare drill on Thursday. The exercise was meant to see if the hospital could handle 300 chemical warfare victims simultaneously.

Taking part in the two-hour exercise, which caused some disruptions in hospital routine, were hospital staffers, Magen David Adom, the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Police and the Ashkelon Municipality, while assessing teams came from Hadassah University Medical Center on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem and Bnei Zion Medical Center in Haifa.

Hospital director Dr. Shimon Scherf said that the exercise illustrated the problems of overcrowding in the country’s hospitals. "During the Second Lebanon War and the Cast Lead Operation some of the patients were sent home or to other hospitals; in the next emergency, it may be that there will be no time to do so. The pressure on hospital beds increases."