Saving Lives in War and Peace
Soroka’s Trauma Unit is one of the largest and busiest in Israel, always on call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Soroka serves as the regional trauma center for victims of terror and for all Israel Defense Force bases in and near the Negev. This need is unfortunately constant and increasing in light of the ongoing security situation in areas bordering Gaza.
Soroka Medical Center stands at the forefront of medical progress, and is currently upgrading and enhancing research capabilities and the healthcare it provides. Soroka’s staff is dedicated to advancing research and providing optimal medical and emergency care while treating the patient as a whole human being.
Since the start of the missile and rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip, which first reached a peak with the Israel Defense Forces’ Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, was followed in 2012 with Operation Pillar of Defense, and continued most recently in 2014 with Operation Protective Edge, Soroka has been operating under grave threat. The medical center finds itself all too frequently on the front lines of medical care in its role as “Israel’s Iron Dome for Health.”
During Operation Protective Edge (2014), the Negev region, Israel’s southern front, was subjected to heavy barrages of rocket fire from Gaza. The ensuing ground operation resulted in hundreds of our soldiers and civilians being wounded, many critically.
Over the course of this difficult, stressful, and uncertain two-month period, Soroka’s devoted ER and trauma staff cared for 1,263 patients, including 775 soldiers and 484 civilians who were physically wounded or suffered emotional trauma during the military operation.
Soldiers sustained internal injuries and wounds to the head, eyes, and limbs. Civilians suffered from shrapnel injuries and emotional stress. The most severely wounded were brought by evacuation helicopter directly to Soroka Medical Center.
Each time the sirens sound in Beer-Sheva, Soroka is forced to close eight of its operating rooms, which are unprotected and vulnerable. There is an urgent need for protected operating rooms that will meet the IDF’s Home Front Command guidelines and allow for surgeries to take place under enemy fire.
Soroka has only ten general operating rooms that are protected against missile attacks.
During military operations against Gaza, they operate round the clock. The huge overload has forced us to operate in underground, outdated ORs dating from the 1960s, which had recently served as storerooms. This was a resourceful and lifesaving response, but the old ORs are unfit for twenty-first century medicine, and cannot serve as a permanent solution during emergencies.