Hospital officials at a medical center in southern Israel are still reeling Monday, after police were forced to use live fire during a massive brawl at the hospital overnight.
Dr. Dan Schwarzfuchs, director of the emergency room at Soroka Medical Center, spoke with Radio 103FM Monday morning about the fight which broke out at the hospital Sunday night between two Bedouin families from the town of Rahat.
Schwarzfuchs, who was managing the nightshift that evening, recalled that the clashes began after two injured people were brought to the hospital for treatment.
“They came here on their own after they had been beaten and we treated them. They underwent CT scans and an additional examination.”
“Half an hour after they arrived, two people with stab wounds came,” Schwarzfuchs continued. “We didn’t understand that the two events were related.”
“After we treated the two stabbing victims, the brawl erupted outside of the emergency room between the two families, then the shooting started.”
“A medical staff member came in and said ‘They’re shooting outside.’ I quickly went out and saw the end of the shooting. I told everyone outside to come in to the emergency room, and we closed the door and waited for the police and our security guards to deal with the people [outside].”
“There were some 120 patients there at the time, not including people accompanying them. There were some 200 people there in the emergency room, but it was totally quiet.”
Schwarzfuchs said the patients being treated were unaware of the incident outside, and he worked to prevent panic from breaking out.
The brawl lasted for some 10 minutes, Schwarzfuchs said, before police dispersed the participants and arrested a number of those involved.
“I never saw anything like it. I’ve been a doctor for nearly 30 years, and I have never seen something like this at a hospital. Obviously this crossed a red line for the hospital. It is supposed to be safe from things like this, but this is a window into what happens outside of the hospital.”
Nineteen people were arrested during the brawl Sunday night, police said, and at least two participants were injured.