Reflections following Israel’s flooding tragedies last month
On Wednesday, April 25, there was a mass casualty event involving 60 special needs children who were caught in a flash flood: 46 of them were evacuated to Soroka for medical care. This meant that approximately 50 staff members mobilized to prepare the Emergency Department, including physicians & nurses to triage and treat the injured, administrators and orderlies to identify, photograph and document the casualties, and a large team of social workers to assist in the care of the injured children and reunification with their families. We opened the hospital dining room to provide a location where discharged children could meet their school teams and family members.
On Thursday, April 26, during a flash flood disaster that tragically took the lives of 10 teens on a pre-army bonding trip, Soroka’s Emergency Department was once again mobilized in a similar way. Tragically, only 2 wounded were evacuated to Soroka for treatment, but Soroka was prepared for any event as the only nearby trauma center and the primary location for evacuation. In addition, a police vehicle with three occupants was swept away in a flash flood and rescued by helicopter. The wounded occupants were treated at Soroka.
During the course of these two days, we received additional trauma patients who were transferred from Ashqelon and Eilat, seven people who were injured in a motor vehicle accident, four additional helicopter landings with injured and sick individuals and prepared for yet another event in which a bus overturned with 50 people on board – thankfully with no serious injuries.
As these tragedies demonstrate, it is our duty to ensure that Soroka, as the only medical center in the region, is always prepared, expertly staffed, well-equipped, and poised to provide timely, cutting-edge medical responses in the Negev in times of emergency and all times.