The Rambam Medical Center, the largest hospital in northern Israel, carried out a drill Thursday, simulating rocket and missile attacks on the city of Haifa, including a scenario involving projectiles carrying chemical warheads.
During the drill, Rambam was forced to transfer activity to the Sammy Ofer underground hospital and treat hundreds of wounded there, some of whom had been exposed to chemical substances.
The exercise, that enjoyed cooperation of the Home Front Command, the rescue forces, and various government ministries, took place throughout the morning and many of the hospital emergency personnel as well as dozens of soldiers from the Home Front Command participated.During the course of the scenario, the professionals got experience transforming the underground parking lot at Rambam into a protected underground hospital, populated with casualties who would arrive in a real war scenario from the entire northern region and treating them when it is understood that they were exposed to chemical substances whose nature is unknown.
"As a trauma center and the largest hospital in the north of the country, we have a responsibility to provide treatment to soldiers and civilians even in times of emergency," says Prof. Rafi Beyar, Director of Rambam. "The reality around us forces us to practice different situations and prepare ourselves for a reality that could come to pass.I hope we will never have to face the test of reality, but we are prepared for any scenario."
Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, MK Nava Boker, who also serves as Chairwoman of the Firefighting and Rescue Subcommittee, arrived at Rambam this morning and saw up close the exercise scenario. She received a briefing from Prof. Biar,Dr. Mickey Halbertal.
"I was very impressed by the momentum of development at Rambam and by the preparedness of the emergency center.About a year-and-a-half ago, as part of my position as chairman of the Firefighting and Rescue Committee, I visited Rambam and found that the underground hospital is supposed to provide a solution for all the citizens of the north.
"I am pleased that I have raised the need for Medical Center budgeting in an urgent discussion of the Labor, Welfare and Health Committee. The Finance Ministry responded and budgeted the regular maintenance of the underground hospital.On behalf of the citizens of the north, I would like to thank the Director-General of Rambam, Prof. Rafi Beyar, and all the staff of the Medical Center, who are working to increase preparedness for saving lives in routine and emergency situations."