Managing medical treatment in mass casualties’ events with limited means

R4253776819_65d088da40_med Cross shares its knowledge with Israel’s first responders

Dr. Harald Veen, chief surgeon of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, educates Israeli Senior medical personnel how to take care of patients with limited means.

At a first time convention held in Israel, the Red Cross and the Israeli Magen David Adom (MDA) shared ideas, knowledge and experience in emergency care during natural disasters, where there are limited medical means that the staff can use.

Dr. Harald Veen, chief surgeon of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva and the convention’s guest of honor, has 21 years of experience in the medical field as well as experience in working in developing countries, war zones and mass casualties’ events. Among his responsibilities is conducting training programs for medical staff and spreading the knowledge of medical treatment with no equipment. Dr. Veen says that he was is delighted to speak at the convention. He stressed that this is the first time that such a convention is taking place in Israel despite the wide reputation Israeli professionals have and the conception that they have already been sufficiently trained. He stressed that working together at natural disasters has showed that there is a need for additional training on the subject of medical care in situations when there are limited means, no hospital or medical equipment, no electricity and no sterilized environment.

Dr. Veen said that Israeli medical professionals are highly evaluated in the world, but in situations like natural disastrous they found a common ground for sharing knowledge, “together with the MDA we are training the Israeli professionals’ surgical management, sharing treatment protocols for medical care under these kind of situations, learning how to cope with such situations psychologically and prepare ourselves for working together in a natural disaster environment.”

According to Chaim Rafalowski, Disaster Management European projects coordinator at the MDA’s CEO’s office, which is also responsible for the MDA’s coordination within the international Red Cross movement with regards to disastrous events in Israel and abroad.  In addition, Rafalowski whose office is also responsible for sending professional delegations of Israel’s MDA to such events, emphasizes that this convention provided an opportunity to learn from the International community how to better prepare for disastrous events such as an earthquake. He says, ““Earthquake environments are very different from anything Israel has experienced. In such environments hospitals can end up destroyed, roads leading to hospitals may be damaged or impassable, medical professionals will be required to take care of wounded people without the equipment they are used to working with. For example medical personnel might need to fix fractures without X-ray machines, and only by physiological techniques.” Rafalowski adds “As much as MDA has very professional medical teams, modern western medical practices may have made us lose a bit of the craft doctors used to have during times when modern technology didn’t exist.  Therefore we need to gain as much experience as we can, so we can better cope with such situations.

With regards to earthquakes, Rafalowski addresses regular citizens as well and says that it is important for each and every one of us to understand that emergency organizations such as the MDA, are doing everything they can to prepare themselves for such events. An earthquake is an event that requires our country’s citizens to be well prepared for a possibility that rescue workers will not be able to reach everybody immediately. In those scenarios people with first aid training are likely to be of great assistance to themselves, their family and neighbors.

The MDA is offering first aid courses and courses aiming specifically at preparedness for earthquakes for all elements of the population. According to Rafalowski the population’s preparedness is a key for saving lives at such events.




Illustration Pictures with courtesy of IDF’s spokesman unit