The summer of 2006 in northern Israel served as the battleground for the second war against Hezbollah based along Israel's border with southern Lebanon. Western Galilee Hospital (WGH), which is located only 6 miles from the Lebanese border, served as a major medical center in the vicinity of the fighting. The hospital was directly impacted by Hezbollah with a Katyusha rocket, which struck the ophthalmology department on the 4th floor. WGH was able to utilize a 450-bed underground facility that maintained full hospital functionality throughout the conflict. In a major feat of rapid evacuation, the entire hospital population was relocated under the cover of darkness to these bunkers in just over 1 hour, thus emptying the building prior to the missile impact. Over half of the patients presenting during the conflict did not incur physical injury but qualified as acute stress disorder patients. The particulars of this evacuation remain unique owing to the extraordinary circumstances, but many of the principles employed in this maneuver may serve as a template for other hospitals requiring emergency evacuation. Hospital functionality drastically changed to accommodate the operational reality of war, and many of these tactics warrant closer investigation for possible implementation in other conflict zones.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2015.
- hospital evacuation
- missile attack
- stress disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health