Once a year drills are held at Rambam Health Care Campus together with the IDF Home Front Command, the Emergency Division of the Ministry of Health, and peer review professionals from other hospitals. Such drills are critical to ensure the hospital's preparedness when faced with a mass casualty situation. The drill held this year, on April 10, focussed on a "dirty bomb" scenario.
A drill was conducted yesterday (April 10) at Rambam Health Care Campus by the IDF Home Front Command, the Emergency Division of the Ministry of Health, and peer review professionals from other hospitals. Drills of this type take place once a year, and as such, a large number of processes are examined. In the current drill, the scenario began as a conventional mass casualty incident that turned into a radiation exposure event following the explosion of a dirty bomb in a crowded mall.
“As a result of the fortunate decrease in these types of real-life events, it is necessary to conduct frequent drills to prepare the treatment teams and to check the processes for dealing with sudden scenarios,” notes Dr. Michael Halberthal, Director and CEO of Rambam Health Care Campus. “This scenario challenges the hospital, as it requires the team to practice wearing their protective gear and identify the source of the radiation, in addition to carefully triaging the casualties according to the severity of their injuries. It also requires the hospital to set up a decontamination area for exposed casualties while part of the hospital has already been contaminated, including the operating room,” he added.
During the drill, all procedures and checklists were tested, including:
- Processes for admitting a massive number of casualties in a brief period
- Managing medical issues in the emergency room
- Prioritizing treatment modalities like the imaging department and the operating rooms according to severity of injuries
- Transfer of patients to various departments or handling their release from the hospital
- Transfer of information to the public
The hospital emergency headquarters were also examined as part of the drill. Work in the command center was organized to include all players involved, with decisions based on orderly work processes and using proprietary computer systems developed by Rambam with artificial intelligence capabilities.
Dozens of doctors, nurses, logistics personnel, and security guards participated in the drill. All together, a few hundred staff members were involved, and the drill was deemed a success.
“This is a complex drill that reflects the hospital's extraordinary abilities in the field of emergency preparedness. Perhaps the most important thing is the harnessing of the team and the considerable investment and commitment regarding our ability to fulfill our mandate to do our best for our patients, providing solutions in every scenario. I have great appreciation for the emergency staff of the hospital and hospital staff in all sectors,” says Halberthal.
Videography: Ofer Golan